Special Olympics Wyoming 2018
Chandler and Ian led the crowd in reciting the oath.
Area II Winter Games
by Terry Allen
January 22, 2018
The Area II Winter Games of the 2018 Wyoming Special Olympics was held Friday, January 19 at the White Pine ski area.
Chandler and Ian led the assembled competitors in a rousing recitation of the Athlete Oath: "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
When the cheering ended, approximately 100 athletes dashed off to the first sport on their list. Sports included: Giant Slalom, Slalom, Snowshoe racing, Nordic racing and Snowboarding.
Jase and Jesse were tuning skis for the athletes and they said the athletes from Lander had been coming over every week to train. They had two requests. Make them fast and they wanted the same skis they had every week. Turns out, they had kept a log of the ski numbers and so each athlete was happy.
A Uinta County Sheriff's Office employee was helping with medals and I learned law enforcement has the reputation as being a backbone of the Special Olympics. I didn't know that...but then I recalled three years ago when I did my last story on this event, Deputy Lance Gehlausen had walked with athletes in those opening ceremonies.
Up on the ski hill Sublette County Sheriff KC Lehr and Casey Manning were recording times of the athletes as they ran thru the slalom gates. I recognized Zac Knudsen from three years ago when I last covered this event and met him as he crossed the finish line. "It felt wonderful," he exclaimed when I asked him how his run went.
Doc Johnston and I fought over the same door as I tried to go in the lodge and he tried to come out. "This is by far my favorite event of the year," he said. "I wouldn't miss it for anything."
I went in the lower level of the lodge and Slalom athlete Jax was sitting there eating a peanut butter and strawberry sandwich on a hotdog bun. "I'm doing a frozen food review," he cracked. "It got cold in my pocket."
I ran into old friend and Multi-Olympian Amy Linn, (who prefers to be called "Turbo" when she is on the track) and we caught up with each other. I learned Amy has been competing in athletics for about 25 years and in the Special Olympics for 10 years. A while later I took a photo of her as she took off on her Nordic skis for a 1500 meter race. Her closest competitor was Robbie and he beat her off the start and finished just ahead of her at the finish for the Gold, but Amy was pleased with her Silver medal.
I found White Pine owner Alan Blackburn in the lodge and he was pleased with the event. "I'm delighted that this has become an annual event. Our staff and the Olympians enjoy this day and we enjoy having them here."
As I was writing this story I received a text from area organizer Gail Hamner. "We are looking forward to going to Jackson for the State Championships in two weeks. It is rewarding being involved in the Special Olympics. If anyone would like to be involved, contact me: email@example.com"