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Special Olympics winter area games

Northern Wyoming Daily News - 1/30/2018

TEN SLEEP ? Friday morning excited athletes from Northern Wyoming met at Meadowlark Ski Lodge to compete in the area games which consist of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in order to qualify for the state games in JacksonFeb. 6-8. Bighorn National Forest Service employees assisted the games by keeping time, presenting awards and skiing with athletes competing in alpine skiing.

The Special Olympics athletes were enthusiastic about the competition even though the temperature was in the lower teens with a wind that chilled to the bone. Owl Unlimited program director/ owner Carolyn Marcus said that the athletes get really excited just before the competition. She said that they look forward to the challenge, competition and seeing friends from different areas.

Out of the 236 Special Olympics athletes in Northern Wyoming 69 participated in the area games Friday. Marcus stated that the winter competitions have the lowest amount of participation because of the cold and the fall games have the greatest participation. Out of the 69 competing athletes, Cody had six athletes, Lander Masters 12, Powell school seven, NEW BOCES (Northeast WyomingBoard of Cooperative Educaitonal Services) five, Riverton three, Sheridan school four, Stainbrook nine, Thermopolis 10 and Washakie County 13.

According to the Wyoming Special Olympics website:

For completion:

- Athletes may enter and compete in one sport.

- Athletes must compete at the same level for all events.

- Athletes must enter consecutive distances (Ex: 10 meter, 25 meter and 50 meter)

- The Official Special Olympics Sports Rules shall govern all competition. National Governing Body (NGB) rules shall apply except for when they are in conflict with the Official Special Olympics Sports Rules.

- Athletes may not compete in the same event as an individual and then as a member of a Unified Sports team.

Washakie County athletes have been training since the beginning of December. Marcus stated that for skiing the athletes practiced on the weekends at Meadowlark Ski lodge and that the athletes practiced snowshoeing behind the Worland Community Center Complex.

Special Olympics has specific rules regarding training for the safety of all involved. According to the Wyoming Special Olympics website;

- Special Olympics has established minimum training standards for athletes to prepare for competition.

- The purpose of training is to assure that athletes have the skills and stamina to compete safely at Area and State competition.

- All athletes (and partners) should participate in a training program for at least 8-10 weeks, and if/when possible, longer.

- When programs are unable to find adequate snow or facilities, strength and conditioning programs should be implemented to supplement but not replace sport specific training.

The mission of Special Olympics Wyoming is to provide year round participation in sports training and athletic competition in a variety of well-coached Olympic-type sports for individuals with intellectual disabilities by providing athletes with continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness skills, express courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of talents, skills and friendship with their families, friends, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

All competitors lived up to the Special Olympics athlete oath, "Let me win. But if I cannot win. Let me be brave in the attempt."


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