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Sundown Mountain hosts Special Olympics

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) - While the weather was chilly at Sundown Mountain, you couldn't help but feel warm after seeing the smiles on the Special Olympians faces.

Monday was the first of the two-day event. This afternoon, competitors were given the day to practice on the slopes before the competition kicks off Tuesday.

The 100 athletes will compete in events such as alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and speed skating.

Aridenne Johnson, Event Director for Alpine Ski, said while it is a requirement for their athletes to train prior to competition, many of them do not get the chance to ski outside of the event days.

"Our athletes are required to train for about 8 weeks. Here in Iowa, it's a little harder to find a hill to ski on," said Johnson. "But they do what they can as far as lifting weights are trying to get out here on the weekends to prepare in advanced."

Athletes, like Jenny Dalton, said skiing isn't too difficult of a sport.

"There is a big hill and then you ski down it and I promise I will be waiting for you at the bottom of the trail," said Dalton.

And while it is a competition, athletes like Gustavo Romero, said they're in it for the love of the sport.

"I hope everybody is safe and has fun and overall have a good time. That's what we're here for," said Romero. "And do our best, that's all we can do."

Opening and closing ceremonies will happen Monday and Tuesday evening at the Grand Harbor Resort. The first competitive event is scheduled to begin at 9:30 Tuesday morning.

The public is welcome to watch the events.

Ashley Scott

Reporter, Dubuque

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