OTSEGO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Hundreds of athletes took to the slopes Tuesday to show off their skills and to compete as Bittersweet Ski Area hosted the Southwest Regional Special Olympics Winter Games competition.
“It’s a great day for the athletes,” said Nick Caudle, senior manager of sports and training for Special Olympics Michigan. “Being winter sports, it’s a sport where they really get to show off their skills. If you watch them on the ski slopes, both skiing and snowboarding, it’s pretty incredible what they can do.”
Athletes competed in skiing, snowboarding, cross country and snowshoeing events at the ski area near Otsego.
“If I could just do sports and Special Olympics, and not have to work, I’d totally do that,” competitor Kayla Cornell said.
“It’s a good exercise for them to learn their large motor skills,” Barry Bond, who came to watch his son compete, said. “It’s just really good for them.”
“It’s motivation,” said Kathy Bond, Barry Bond’s wife. “It’s motivation for (or son) to get up in the morning. That’s one of his biggest challenges is rolling out of bed, and so it’s great motivation.”
“A couple years ago, I beat my record of skiing,” Cornell said. “I used to ski like a 50, and then I went down to 40 seconds, and then from 40 seconds I made it all the way to 27 within a year.”
Tuesday’s winners will advance to the state Winter Games, which will be held in Traverse City in two weeks.