Special Olympics Wraps Up
Athletes continued to give it their all on Sunday as 2011 Special Olympics Alaska Winter Games wrapped up.
Athletes continued to give it their all on Sunday as 2011 Special Olympics Alaska Winter Games wrapped up. This year marks the 10-year anniversary since Alaska hosted the Special Olympic World Games.
291 participants from across the state competed in six different events including floor hockey at East High School and alpine skiing at Hilltop Ski Area.
Special Olympics Alaska serves over 2,000 athletes across the state and, globally, over 4 million from 180 countries.
“Ketchikan, Kodiak, Juneau, Fairbanks, Anchorage: they are all here,” said Nicolle Egan, Vice President for the Special Olympics Alaska.
These hard working and dedicated athletes are bringing their best game to the slopes and to the floor.
“We practice every week to get here,” said Matthew Maillelle, Special Olympics athlete.
“Athletes train for about three months prior to games,” said Egan. “They have a local competition to advance to a higher competition, this [2011 Winter Games] would be the next step.”
Sports officials say the Special Olympics are high competition and high stakes.
“It's about competition, it's about sports, it's about family, it's about everybody coming together to celebrate all of our abilities through sports,” said Egan.
One competitor has his own reason to compete besides the winning and the challenge.
“My grandma passed away, so my grandma is up in heaven, so I am doing this for her,” said Frank Ross III, Special Olympics athlete.
Officials say next year the Winter Games will be a qualifier for the world games in 2014.