January 24, 2006
Even after the torch was extinguished in Wintergreen, some Special Olympians went home with medals and memories they won't soon forget.
"Kenny Trotter received the gold medal!" proclaimed the announcer. Kenny received three medals in all.
"All this right here. It?s [my] bling bling," said Kenny Trotter.
With the torch burning bright behind them, Special Olympians from around the state stood on a pedestal for everyone to see, smiling bright, proud of their accomplishments.
"I won a silver and two golds," said Special Olympian Leslie Barnes
When asked what he would do with his medals, Trotter replied, "Hang them up!"
This event is much more than having something to hang up or wear around your neck. At the heart of the Special Olympics Virginia are the athletes.
"I am very good," said Barnes.
"I haven't gotten an award yet but I?m going to get some though," said Charlottesville athlete Shannon Flannagan.
Over the last two days 135 Special Olympians showed off their skills on the slopes.
?The vast majority of our athletes would not have this opportunity [if] not for Special Olympics Virginia, our great Special Olympic volunteers, and the great resort here at Wintergreen,? said Special Olympics Virginia President Rick Jeffrey.
The competition is an opportunity also to present talents people may not know they have.
"What we hope is that people will see that and realize that there's a greater capability to people with intellectual disabilities and perhaps to all people that are simply different than you,? said Jeffrey.
Whether the athletes took home a medal or not, the most important thing was participating in an event like the Special Olympics. Wintergreen has hosted the skiing championships since 1978.