Athletes are on Their Way to Austria!
After months of preparation, the journey has finally begun for Special Olympics Kentucky athletes Kelly McCormick of Louisville and Patrick Tutsch of Lexington. The pair departed early Sunday morning from the Louisville International Airport to represent the state as part of the Special Olympics USA team at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.
Kelly and Patrick traveled to Washington, D.C., on Sunday to meet the team. Once in the nation’s capital, the Special Olympics USA team was treated to a huge sendoff party. While there, McCormick — a three-time World Winter Games competitor — got to run elbows with Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver.
The 200-member Special Olympics USA delegation flies to Austria today where they will begin assimilating to the country as part of the Host Town program that precedes every World Games.
Special Olympics USA will join 2,500 fellow athletes from 106 other nations for the Games, which begin with the Opening Ceremony on March 18. Events will be held in Graz, Schladming-Rohrmoos and Ramsau, Austria. Both McCormick and Tutsch will compete in alpine skiing events in Schladming.
Schladming becomes only the second city to host a Special Olympics World Games event a second time. Shladming also hosted the World Winter Games in 1993. Chicago hosted the first two Special Olympics World (then International) Games in 1968 and 1970.
You can follow all of the Kentucky athletes’ progress at the Games on soky.org, or our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. You can also follow along at the official World Games Web site or on the Special Olympics USA App.
For more information about the World Winter Games or about the Kentucky athletes competing, contact Mark Buerger, Director of Communications and External Affairs at 502-695-8222 or [email protected].