TENNESSEE SPECIAL OLYMPICS WINTER GAMES CELEBRATES 35TH ANNIVERSARY

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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 26th – January 28th at Ober Gatlinburg. New this year, Basketball will also be hosted at Rocky Top Sports World!

Over 150 athletes with intellectual disabilities will compete in Alpine skiing, snowboarding and Speed Skating in divisions based on age and ability. According to Amy Parker, VP of Marketing and Development, “Thank you 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.

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The Winter Games competition is being conducted by Ober Gatlinburg Ski & Snowboard School (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, Ober Gatlinburg, University of Tennessee- Athletic Department, American Eagle Outfitters, Maryville/Alcoa Civitan Club, Accenture, Sam’s Club, Sevierville Police Dept, Pigeon Forge Police Dept, Gatlinburg Police Department, Sevier County Sheriff’s Department 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. 2020 marks the 35th anniversary for the Special Olympics Tennessee Winter Games.

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Photos by Carly Deyton of Ober Gatlinburg

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