continued Mills said the athletes train with real skis and boots on the sand at John Llyod’s State Park at Danai Beach, Fla.
“They do figure-eight races and get comfortable with the skis,” Mills said. “Some trainers feel our athletes are more ready for the snow than athletes with training near snow.”
Amy Dugan, Director of Marketing and Communications for Special Olympics North America, said the Special Olympics is a global movement, with 4 million athletes in 170 nations.
The first special games in the US were in 1968. Eunice Kennedy, sister of president John F. Kennedy, was the founder.
The Kennedys, a famously athletic family, had a sister named Rosemary with an intellectual disability.
“Eunice said well my sister can do all of those things but no body cares and she is not given the opportunity,” Dugan said. “She got a little angry and worked some connections and said we’re off to change the world.”
The 10th Special Olympics World Winter Games will begin Jan. 29 and go through Feb. 5.
For more information go to www.specialolympicsteamusa.org.