Hundreds of Iowa athletes with intellectual disabilities are in northeast Iowa this week to compete in the Winter Games of the Iowa Special Olympics. Games chairman Paul Gorrell says the competitors are gathered in Dubuque from all over the state, along with hundreds of coaches, chaperons and volunteers.
Gorrell says it’s a record 400 athletes taking part this year. "It’s fun," he says, "That’s what we’re here for and I would like to see 500. The more we can help, the better." Events got underway this (Monday) morning while the opening ceremonies are slated for tonight at 6 P.M. at Dubuque’s Grand Harbor Hotel.
That event includes a parade along the River Walk with the athletes lighting the flame to officially kickoff the Games. Gorrell says the athletes look forward to the winter games every year so they can interact with the folks from across Iowa that they see during the summer games. He calls it an annual family reunion for them. The athletes this year range in age from eight-years-old to 65. He says a host of events are underway.
Gorrell says the list of events includes: figure skating, speed skating, Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. The events are underway in Dubuque through Wednesday. For more information, visit the Special Olympics website .