Nickell Completes World Games Team Trials

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Nickell Completes World Games Team Trials

Long Wait to Compete Against the World Nears End for Morehead Athlete

DesaRae Nickell in a red whit and blue ski suit skis over a rise.
Nickell makes a run in Park City at the Special Olympics USA Team Trials.

Morehead athlete DesaRae Nickell FINALLY got the opportunity to meet her fellow athletes and coaches who will make up the Special Olympics USA Team at the 2025 Special Olympic World Winter Games next year in Turin, Italy. The Team Trials, which were held in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 18-20, were a giant step on what has been a winding road for Nickell on her way to the World Games.

Nickell was first nominated to join the Special Olympics USA team in 2019 for the 2021 Games, which were to be held in Sweden. Organization issues and then COVID forced those games to be moved both to Kazan, Russia, and to 2022. Nickell was again set to join Special Olympics USA for those Games, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine forced their cancellation and a delay until 2024. The Team Trials were the first official Special Olympics USA event she had had the opportunity to participate in.

The Team Trials game athletes the opportunity to meet each other and meet and work with the coaches they will have in Turin. There was also a welcome dinner and a final dinner and celebration. The Team Trials are an important opportunity for athletes to get comfortable with coaches they have usually not met before and to prepare both for the competition and for being away from home.

This is the first time the World Games process has even made it to the Team Trials phase since Nickell’s original selection in 2019. She enjoyed the experience and made a new friend on the team.

“My favorite part of training camp was skiing Park City and the entire beauty of Utah,” Nickell said. “I found peace and solitude in skiing the mountains with my new found best friend Teagan from Alaska.”

With Team Trials in the rear view mirror, Nickell is looking forward to her official selection to the Special Olympics USA Team in June and to making her mark in Italy.

“What I look forward to most about World Games is being able to represent Special Olympics Kentucky and the USA,” she said. “I can’t wait to walk in to the stadium wearing the colors of USA. I’m going to continue to train hard with the goal of medaling.’

For more information about the 2025 Special Olympics World Winter Games or how you can help Nickell raise the money needed to compete, contact Trish Mazzoni at [email protected] or 502-695-8222.

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