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Tennessee Special Olympics Winter Games set for January 31-February 2 in Gatlinburg

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The Special Olympics Tennessee Winter Games kicks off January 31 in Gatlinburg. Image courtesy of Ober Gatlinburg.

GATLINBURG, TN — More than 150 athletes with intellectual disabilities are getting their skis, snowboards, and ice skate blades ready for the Special Olympics Tennessee Winter Games at Ober Gatlinburg. From January 31 through February 2, these special athletes will compete in Alpine skiing, snowboarding and Speed Skating in divisions based on age and ability.

"Thanks to individuals, organizations and businesses in and around Gatlinburg, the Winter Games will be a great event. Our athletes look forward to their Winter Olympics all year,” said Meg Takahashi, Director of Competitions.

Opening Ceremonies will be held on Sunday, January 31 from 6:45 pm - 7:15 pm at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Admission to the event is free. Attendees will witness the March of Athletes, the Special Olympics Oath, a welcoming speech, and the presentation of the colors. The traditional lighting of the Special Olympics flame will take place on Monday morning at 9:00 am at Ober Gatlinburg.

The Winter Games competition is conducted by The Gatlinburg Snow Sports Center (Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding); Ober Gatlinburg Ice Skating Rink (Ice Skating); and Ober Gatlinburg.

Many businesses and civic organizations assist with the event: The American Legion Post 202 and Auxiliary Unit, Gatlinburg Convention Center and Visitors Bureau, The City of Gatlinburg, Borden Dairy, Glenstone Lodge, Smoky Mountain Ski Club, Gordon Food Service, Walgreens, The Gatlinburg Snow Sports Center, Ober Gatlinburg, University of Tennessee- Athletic Department, Dick’s Last Resort Restaurant, American Eagle Outfitters, Maryville/Alcoa Civitan Club, Accenture, Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association and many Sevier County residents.

Over 14,000 athletes participate in Special Olympics Tennessee which provides year-round training and competition opportunities in 19 sports. More than 300 athletes participate in Area Winter Sports throughout the state. 2016 marks the 31st anniversary for the Special Olympics Tennessee Winter Games.

Published January 27, 2016

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