Athletes from around the state gathered at Timberline Resort last month to participate in the 2013 Special Winter Olympics.
Terry Stone, the volunteer Winter Games director and representative of Timberline, spoke to the Inter-Mountain about the event. She said the games began Jan. 24 and lasted through the afternoon of Jan. 25. Several counties from around the state were represented.
"Athletes from all over the state attended the games," she said, including some from Tucker and Randolph counties.
Courtesy of Ludovic Moore
Austin Jenkins propels himself down a snowshoe course at the West Virginia Special Olympics which took place in January at Timberline Resort.
In addition, she said, athletes from Virginia were able to attend because the games in their state had been canceled. In West Virginia, participants are designated by county affiliation, and in Virginia they are designated by delegations, which can include multiple counties.
Three delegations from Virginia attended this year's West Virginia Games.
Stone said more than 100 athletes, ages eight and up, participated.
Downhill skiing and snowboarding, slalom skiing and snowboarding, cross country skiing and snowshoe events took place.
"These athletes earn their medals," Stone said - they follow Olympic rules and can be disqualified for performing improperly during an event.
The only alteration made to any event is the distance of the various snowshoe events. The comptetion's snowshoe events are shorter than regulation length, at 50 and 100 meters.
Stone praised their dedication, saying the athletes deal with wind chill and snow and never complain.
She said participants had lodging and meals at Canaan Valley Resort. A Victory Dance, conducted during the evening, was also completed at Canaan.
Time trials were done that day and a party, the Victory Dance, was celebrated that evening.
Dave Perry, director of the Randolph County athletes, said four participants attended the games from his county.
The four were active in the 50 and 100 meter cross country skiing events.
He mentioned specifically that one athlete, Linda Teter, was given the honor of officially announcing the beginning to the games at the opening ceremony.
Standing before everyone in attendance, she recited the phrase, "I declare these 2013 games open."
Stormie Meloy, director of the Tucker County athletes, said she went with two representatives who each participated in snowshoe events.
"The athletes had a great time. It's all for them and that's what it's about," she said.
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