Winter Special Olympics at Kirkwood continue today, Thursday |

Winter Special Olympics at Kirkwood continue today, Thursday

Jeff Munson

With continued high stakes at a resort that boasts fetching 600 inches of snow this year, conditions have been perfect for 187 Special Olympic athletes who are competing for the gold at the 2008 Winter Games at Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

The games, which started, on Monday, continue today and Thursday with the closing ceremonies. The public is invited to attend.

Athletes who win gold medals have the opportunity to qualify for the World Games to be held in Idaho in 2009. The World Games is expected to attract up to 3,000 athletes from more than 85 nations.

“I’m really excited about the possibility of qualifying for the World Games,” said three-time Winter Games alpine athlete Barry Gee. “I know I have to win gold at Kirkwood in order to have a chance to go to the World Winter Games and compete with athletes from around the world.”

Opening ceremonies for the Winter Games at Kirkwood began Monday with a torchlight parade and fireworks that lit up the skies over the famed resort. Athletes from throughout Northern California and Nevada are competing in four different sports: alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing.

“This year’s Winter Games (has been) action-packed and full of emotion,” explained Jenny Choo, competition director for the Special Olympics Winter Games at Kirkwood. “The athletes have been training hard and the coaches report that everyone is really hyped up for the games. Kirkwood provides such a fantastic venue and some 250 volunteers ” most of whom are local and love working with our athletes ” truly make this a memorable event.”

The Special Olympic Winter Games have become a welcomed tradition at Kirkwood Mountain Resort with the area hosting the event for the last 12 years.

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