Coaches and athlete off to world winter games in austria

Pauline Gross
March 21, 2017

The experience will be a mix of old and new for Sarason, a veteran cross-country skier.

Madison Englund is at the top of her game.

Mulligan won't make any promises about bringing home a medal.

In the 2015 Massachusetts Special Olympics competition, O'Neil won two gold medals in downhill skiing and the grand slalom categories, and he learned the following January that he had made the US team.

She's in Austria now to compete in this year's world competition.

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AUSTRIAN President Alexander Van der Bellen declared the opening of the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 here on Saturday. She is one of two competitors from Nebraska, among more than 2,700 athletes who will be taking part in the event. The only stipulation was she had to attend the camp without her family.

The event is in its fourth year and benefits Special Olympic athletes across Missouri, including 800 in the St. Joseph area.

"It's a country I've never been to before", she said.

"I just can't explain to you what a great athlete he is", she said.

"Special Olympics is a movement of welcome, opportunity and inclusion, and for these athletes to miss this chance to represent their country on a global stage of acceptance is frustrating and profoundly disappointing". She has the hardware to prove it too: she has dozens of medals from various competitions and a wall in her study is covered in plaques for each of the years she's been involved with her Skihawks Racing team. "A lot of people have stepped up to help make this happen, and I'm very grateful for them".

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