The most recent Special Olympics USA event for skiers Kelly McCormick of Louisville and Patrick Tutsch of Lexington was the Special Olympics USA team training camp, held Dec. 12-16 in Killington, Vt. Training camp gave both a chance to be fitted for their team uniforms and casual gear, meet their teammates and learn to work with their national team coaches.
Unfortunately one coach who was scheduled to be part of the team – longtime Special Olympics Kentucky Winter Games volunteer Jimmie Johnson – will not be able to make the trip. Johnson, who was set to be Special Olympics USA’s head alpine ski coach, was injured in a fall and cannot make the trip.
There were also many social opportunities at the team camp — from DJs and dancing to a trip to Castleton University on Wednesday, Dec. 14.
Camp was prior to Johnson’s injury and he talked about how Special Olympics USA camp impacted the team.
“Wednesday night, we had a fantastic welcome,” Johnson said. “The band was playing and most of the students and faculty were there cheering. It was a great night for the athletes.”
Johnson was also happy to have a chance to interact with the rest of the Special Olympics USA team.
“It was great to meet the athletes and coaches who we have been talking to over the Summer to get their dry land training going,” Johnson said. “To put faces and personalities with the names was great, it still puts a smile on my face and keeps me coming back.”
Both McCormick and Tutsch participated in the 2017 Special Olympics Kentucky State Winter Games, Jan. 22-24 at Perfect North Slopes as their last competition before Austria. They will depart for Austria on Sunday March 12. The first stop on their trip to the Games will be their assigned Host Town, where athletes will have the opportunity to get acclimated to their surroundings and experience some of the Austrian culture. The Host Town program runs until March 16.
The opening ceremonies for the World Winter Games will take place on March 18.
The 2017 World Winter Games will be held March 14-25 in Graz, Schladming, Ramsau and Styria, Austria. They will bring together more than 2,700 athletes from 107 nations to compete in alpine and cross country skiing, snowshoeing, figure skating, speed skating, floorball, floor hockey, snowboarding and stick shooting. This will be the second time that Schaldming has hosted the World Winter Games. Along with Salzburg, it was one of the first ever cities outside North America to host a Special Olympics World Games when it welcomed the Winter Games in 1993.
You can still make a contribution to support the Kentucky athletes’ trip to the World Games at: http://2017worldwintergames.kintera.org/
For more information about the 2017 World Winter Games or how you can support the Kentucky athletes competing, contact Trish Mazzoni at 502-695-8222 or [email protected].