Special Olympians win at Kirkwood | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Special Olympians win at Kirkwood

by Sam Bauman

KIRKWOOD – There were no losers at the Saturday ski races at Kirkwood Ski Resort. And there was a lot of special courage on display as well.

Many caring people worked together over the week to stage the Northern California Special Olympics for handicapped skiers.

Climaxing the Special Olympics week was the Remedy Corp. Celebrity Ski Winterfest. The event pitted teams from 11 Bay-area companies, with each team including a Special Olympian and a television celebrity.

Earlier in the week the Special Olympians had the course to themselves. Many sponsors paid for the previous two days of racing, and contributed to the general Special Olympics fund.

With a $20,000 contribution per team Saturday, the 11 companies chipped in $220,000 for the Special Olympics coffers.

Larry Garlick, CEO of the Remedy Corp., a software maker and chief sponsor, said, “We’ve increased the number of teams this year so we’re making more money for the Special Olympics.

“As a businessman, I know that success is when you achieve more of a return. And we’re more successful every year with the Special Olympics giving us more of a return. It rubs off on all of us.

“Personally, I love the atmosphere during these events. It’s pure. It’s an inspiration to the people on the teams, the celebrities, to see these people respond to challenge.”

Saturday Night Live comic Kevin Nealon echoed that. “It’s wonderful to see how the Special Olympians develop self-esteem. This is my fourth year and I’ll be back.

“It’s quite a change from the atmosphere around a television show.”

Among the celebrities at the event were:

— Lesley Boone, who appears on the TV show “Ed,” is a self-decribed “sports fanatic,” and takes helping the Special Olympics to heart.

— Bil Dwyer, a comedy actor, who appears on the Comedy Central show “Battlebots” and as host of the Fox Sports show “Ultimate Fan League.”

— Jamie Dudney, who appears on the CBS daytime soap opera “As the World Turns.”

— Sang “Airic” Kim, a martial arts expert who served as a consultant on the movie “Death Warrant.”

Some of the Special Olympic athletes taking part Saturday included:

— Adam Bien, 19, a student at the College of Marin. He and his family feel that the Special Olympics “help him make his own special place in the world.”

— Susie Enos, a 1987 graduate of South Lake Tahoe High School. Last year at the Winter Games she won gold, silver and bronze medals in the novice downhill, slalom and giant slalom.

— Paul Hogue, who joined the Special Olympics ski team last year after one year of skiing. He was frustrated at first but then a friend grabbed him on the hill and took him down the hill “fast.” And he’s been going “fast” ever since.

— Sara Scattini, 26, who has been with the Special Olympics for 18 years and enjoys “skiing with the celebrities.”

Last year the celebrity event raised $500,000.

“Winterfest is a wonderful showcase for companies that like to compete at high speed and contribute to the community with high impact,” said Garlick. “We make an impact.”

Kirkwood contributed the facilities and training classes for the athletes and the members of the corporate teams.

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