Special Olympians Return from Games in South Korea
ANCHORAGE - Friends and family waited at Ted Stevens International Airport on Friday for their Special Olympians to return from the 2013 Special Olympic World Winter Games in South Korea.
They held a big colorful banner and individual signs for some of the four athletes and their coach. After greeting her mother with a hug, Misty Cunitz said it felt "really good to be home."
The athletes donned ribbons and medals for their families. CEO Jim Balamaci explained that athletes compete against themselves. "You get rewarded for doing your personal best. You work as hard as you can and you compete as hard as you can and everyone gets rewarded for their results."
Athlete Bryan Night wore multiple medals. "I got a silver, and a bronze and a fourth." His most memorable moments were the connections with people from all over the world, "enjoying laughter, going out, having fun, coming and just being with your friends there."
Even after attending the games for over 10 years, Balamaci said, it's a wonderful experience, "When everyone comes together as one, and when you have 110 countries coming together celebrating abilities, not disabilities, you could feel that unity. You could feel that sense of belonging."
The 2013 Special Olympics Alaska Winter Games will be March 8-10.