Hundreds of athletes from across Iowa are in Dubuque taking part in this week’s Special Olympics winter games. It’s the 25th annual competition and for many of the athletes, this is the best time of the year. Traci Long, of Iowa City, is competing in events like the 100-meter snow shoe. Long tells what she loves about the Games.
“Meeting new friends and being around great coaches and just having fun,” Long says. Shelly Wade of Iowa City agrees. “You get a chance to meet different people from all over and hang out,” Wade says. Mark Reed, president and CEO of Special Olympics Iowa, says for one week, these competitors are in the spotlight — and they enjoy every second of it.
Reed says, “All of our athletes feel like superstars and I think that’s what’s really neat and the volunteers just love to see the athletes competing and having a great time.” Events include: indoor speed skating, skiing and snow shoeing. Dozens of athletes who are competing in Dubuque will also compete in the national games, scheduled for July 18th through 23rd in Lincoln, Nebraska.
By Katie Wiedemann, KCRG, Cedar Rapids