Special Olympics Kentucky has nominated a pair of skiers to the Special Olympics USA team for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, which will be held March 14-25, 2017, in Austria.
Kelly McCormick of Louisville and Patrick Tutsch of Lexington were selected to represent Kentucky as part of the USA team at the Games.
McCormick, 33, is no stranger to the World Games. This will be her third consecutive appearance after competing in Boise, Idaho, in 2009 and South Korea in 2013. She won a silver and two bronze medals in Idaho, and followed that with a gold in the giant slalom as well as a fourth place ribbon in South Korea.
McCormick has been a Special Olympics athlete for 25 years and has skied in the program for 24. She has also competed in basketball, bowling, flag football, soccer and swimming in addition to alpine skiing during her time in Special Olympics. She competed at one Special Olympics USA Games, traveling to Lincoln, Neb., with the Team Kentucky softball delegation for the 2010 Games. She works for G and S Cleaning Service, taking care of Portland Christian School.
Tutsch, 34, will be making his first ever appearance in the World Games when he gets to Austria. He has been a Special Olympics athlete for 20 years in Michigan and Kentucky and has been involved in alpine skiing the entire time. He also competes in basketball, bowling, golf, softball and track and field. In addition, Tutsch is a Special Olympics Global Messenger who has received special public speaking training and speaks on behalf of his fellow athletes at events and to community groups. He works at Bob Evans in Nicholasville.
Both McCormick and Tutsch qualified to be nominated to the Special Olympics USA team by claiming gold medals at the 2016 Special Olympics Kentucky State Winter Games, which were held Jan. 23-25 at Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, Ind. McCormick won gold in the Advanced Plus slalom. Tutsch won both the slalom and giant slalom at the Advanced Plus level for the second consecutive year.
You can support their efforts to compete in the World Games with a secure, on-line donation here.
The 2017 World Winter Games will bring together more than 3,000 Special Olympics athletes from more than 100 countries. The Games will take place in four cities in central Austria — Graz, Schladming, Ramsau and Styria. The skiing competition will be held in Schladming, which holds the distinction of also hosting part of the first Special Olympics World Games ever held outside the United States. Schladming also hosted the skiing events for the 1993 World Games.
For more information about the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, or about how you can support the Kentucky athletes who will be competing, contact Trish Mazzoni, Special Olympics Kentucky President and CEO at 502-695-8222 or [email protected].