WHITEFISH - You could hear the cheers from every corner of Whitefish Mountain Resort on Wednesday as the Special Olympics Glacier Area Winter Games got underway.
“The smiles on their faces, the high-fives, the hugs, everything, COVID was pretty detrimental to our athletes but if you look at them today it’s like it never happened, they are back full force ready to rock and roll, being with their friends and family is absolutely amazing,” said Montana Special Olympics Sports Coordinator Richie Whitney.
Whitney said the conditions were perfect for the big day,
“Couldn’t ask for any better, this means so much to the athletes coming out here, they’ve trained for 10 weeks going on here now, so this means everything for them, especially to have a day like today with the fresh powder, it’s absolutely amazing,” added Whitney.
More than 100 athletes of all different ages and skill levels competed in the event, thanks to a partnership with DREAM Adaptive, a non-profit helping persons with disabilities safely recreate outside.
Executive Director Julie Tickle says race day is a celebration of all the hard work athletes and instructors put in ahead of the winter games.
“We really focus on promoting the highest level of independence, so from anywhere between five and seven weeks these athletes come up and train with DREAM instructors and really push their limits and today is just a celebration of all that hard work,” said Tickle.
One of the many amazing athletes participating in the winter games is Jordana Hubble of Olney.
In November of 2019, Jordana was struck by a vehicle after exiting a school bus. She spent seven months rehabilitating in a coma emergence program in Houston.
Jordana’s mom Veronica is inspired by her daughter’s recovery.
“I’m just so proud of her, she’s worked so hard, and she loves it too, it’s something that she pushed for more than I did!”
Karin Sagen loved watching her son Jeffrey race down the hill, she thanks everyone involved with putting on the winter games.
“Without the volunteers and DREAM Adaptive it wouldn’t be possible, so thank you to everybody that helps,” said Sagen.
Jordana seemed to summarize the day nicely.
“Jordana what did you think about it? “Perfect!”
VIDEO: Veronica and Jordana Hubble talk about Jordana taking part in the Special Olympics Glacier Area Winter Games