Seven Springs to host Special Olympics this weekend

February 8, 2019

A highlight of the local winter season — the 2019 Special Olympics Pennsylvania Winter Games — premieres Sunday at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Somerset County will send two cross-country skiers and four snowshoers to compete.

Sue Putman, the cross-country ski sport director for Special Olympics Pennsylvania and a member of the Winter Games management team, said the athletes she’s seen from Somerset County are prepared to take on some other gifted and special athletes.

“We’ve had some decent snow for it,” Putman said. “We’re not happy about the weather forecast this week because we’ll lose whatever snow we have. But the team’s ready. They’re excited and we had a great practice on Saturday. We’re ready to go have some fun for a couple days.”

Hundreds of athletes, coaches, families and friends representing all corners of Pennsylvania participate in the games. During the course of the event, athletes and coaches participate in three days of winter sports — competing in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. In addition, a few athletes will participate in a snowboarding demonstration this year, according to the event’s website.

This year’s winter games event is a qualifier fo the next world competition, which will be held in Sweden in 2021. Putman hopes three of Somerset County’s athletes will be in the draw.

“The public is welcome to come out for opening ceremonies on Sunday at Seven Springs,” Putman said. “It starts at 7:30 p.m. It can be inspirational to watch. There will be fireworks and a torch coming down the slopes and the weather should be mild. They should come out and watch.”

Katie Buchan, spokeswoman for the resort, expressed her and the staff’s happiness at holding it once again.

“Each winter season, it is one of our greatest honors to host the inspiring athletes, coaches, organizers and volunteers of the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Winter Games,” Buchan said. “We invite everyone to join us during the games in cheering on these athletes as they take on the challenges they have been training for over the past year.”

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