From Jan. 25 to Feb. 7, SOKY and Team USA sent Kentucky skiers Kelly McCormick and Ricky Oney on the trip of a lifetime — to compete in the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. And both represented their state and their country extremely well.
The pair left Louisville on Jan. 25 and spent one night in Los Angeles to meet up with their Team USA teammates and enjoy a send-off ceremony before making the long flight across the Pacific.
They arrived in Korea on Jan. 26 and spent three days in Seoul as part of the World Games Host Town program before heading out for the Opening Ceremonies on Jan. 29.
Once competition began, Oney got out of the gates fast, claiming his medal in his first event — a Silver in Super G. Oney finished just :01.32 behind Gold Medallist and Team USA teammate Jake Reynolds. It would be Oney’s only medal of the games. Placed in extremely fast heats for the Giant Slalom and Slalom, Oney earned seventh- and sixth-place ribbons, respectively.
McCormick had to wait one event before she could grab the medal she most coveted. She placed fourth in the Super G — an event she claimed the Silver Medal in at the 2009 World Winter Games. She was just over a second out of a medal this time in a race where Team USA claimed Gold, Silver and 4th place.
But McCormick excelled in the Giant Slalom, her second event. She finished more than 10 seconds ahead of her closest challenger — Katrina Hewett of New Zealand — to claim the Gold Medal. The win gave McCormick a full set of World Games medals with a Gold to go with the Silver and Bronze she won in 2009 in Boise, Idaho. McCormick had hopes of a second medal as the second fastest qualifier in her division of the Slalom, but a stomach bug that hit the Games caught up with her the last day in Korea and kept her out of competition.
The Games ended with the Closing Ceremony on Feb. 5, and McCormick and Oney returned to Kentucky on Feb. 7, proudly showing off their awards as they arrived at Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
“We’re so proud of Kelly and Ricky,” said Special Olympics Kentucky President and CEO Trish Mazzoni. “We knew when they were selected for Team USA that they would represent Kentucky and Team USA very well and they even exceeded our expectations.”
The next World Games will mark the return of the World Summer Games to the United States for the first time since 1999, as the 2015 Games will be held in Los Angeles. Kentucky’s selections for those Games should be announced sometime in early 2014.
For more information about the Special Olympics World Games or about the Team USA selection process, contact Kim Satterwhite at 502-695-8222 or [email protected].