Tennessee Special Olympics Winter Games Celebrates 31st Anniversary

Ober Gatlinburg Hosts Ski, Snowboard & Speed Skating athletes in Annual Winter Games

(Gatlinburg, TN) Special Olympics athletes from around the state are waxing their skis and snowboards, and sharpening their ice skate blades in preparation for the Special Olympics Tennessee Winter Games to be held January 31st – February 2nd at Ober Gatlinburg.

Over 150 athletes with intellectual disabilities will compete in Alpine skiing, snowboarding and Speed Skating in divisions based on age and ability. According to Meg Takahashi, Director of Competitions, “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!”

On Sunday night, the public is welcome to witness the traditional Opening Ceremonies from 6:45pm – 7:15pm at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Here they 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 9:00am at Ober Gatlinburg.

The Winter Games competition is being 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 this 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.

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Kenny Griffin
Kenny grew up in Concord, NC, which is right outside of Charlotte. He graduated from UNC Charlotte in December 2010 with a degree in meteorology and joined Ski Southeast immediately thereafter. In addition to his Appnet duties, he helps with day to day operations of Ski Southeast and is also in charge of our sister site, ResortCams.com. In his own words... "I discovered this website a few years back and visit it on a daily basis. I lurked on the messageboard for a while before becoming actively involved and have met some very cool people because of it. Needless to say, I am VERY stoked to be a part of the team and I think I have a unique insight into what people want from the site seeing as I used to be on the outside looking in. I'm sure some people who are reading this have seen me on the mountain before. I am frequently at Beech Mountain and it’s not hard to spot me, as I usually have a camera on my head. I love to document my days on snow and have posted some videos on the messageboard before. If you ever see me out there, feel free to say hey!" You can email Kenny directly at [email protected]