Rowing competition benefits athletes with disabilities

Update from Buncombe County Special Olympics on July 31: Buncombe County Special Olympics has rescheduled the inaugural Rowdown Throwdown for Saturday, Nov. 9, due to scheduling conflicts with several of the participants. The other details of this event remain the same. Please be on the lookout for additional information as the new date approaches.

Press release from Buncombe County Recreation Services: 

Buncombe County Special Olympics and South Slope CrossFit have a goal of raising $10,000 for the gym’s Adaptive Athlete program, one of the only dedicated CrossFit workouts in the world for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. How are they going to make it happen? Through the Rowdown Throwdown, a competition in which teams of 10 will row the distance of a marathon using indoor rowing machines on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at South Slope CrossFit’s downtown gym (217 Coxe Avenue in Asheville, North Carolina). Athletes from the adaptive program will also fully participate as members of the teams.


“We’re about to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Adaptive Athlete program,” said Karla Furnari,Buncombe County Special Olympics coach and Local Coordinator. “It’s been transformative, not only for the athletes, but for the coaches, too. The Rowdown Throwdown is a great way to celebrate this milestone and bring more attention to inclusionary workouts tailored to develop strength, mobility, and body awareness for athletes with disabilities.”

Rowers can sign up as an individual, small group, or full team of 10. Individuals and small groups will be combined to make a full team. Teams will row 42,195 meters (a little over 26 miles). Split evenly, each team member rows 4,220 meters which takes around 20-30 minutes. The distance doesn’t have to be split evenly and teammates can socialize and cheer on rowers throughout the day.

The organizers say they plan to make sure everyone has fun. Local restaurants and breweries will provide food and beverages. Members of the Adaptive Athlete program will also be at the event and are available to join any of the teams. The event is open to individuals of all ages and athletic ability. The money raised will be evenly split between Buncombe County Special Olympics and the Adaptive Athlete Program.

Organizers are seeking sponsors. If interested, please contact


Buncombe County Special Olympics is made possible through funding from donors and support from Buncombe County Government. To donate or volunteer, visit

Special Olympics was founded by Eunice Kennedy in 1968 to celebrate changing attitudes about the talents of people with intellectual disabilities. Buncombe County Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for youth and adults. Sports include alpine skiing and snowboarding, aquatics, athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, cheerleading, gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, and tennis. The organization also offers the Adaptive Athlete Program in a partnership with South Slope CrossFit and Buncombe County Recreation Services.

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