Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Inspiration found at Special Olympics Winter Games in Whitefish
Dax VanFossen - MTN News Kalispell KPAX 8 .com:
WHITEFISH - Athletes with disabilities have been able to show their strengths through the power or sports at the State Winter Games in Montana for two decades, but the games inspire more than just the athletes.
You'd be hard pressed to find a better backdrop than Whitefish Mountain Resort for the 20th annual State Winter Games for Special Olympics of Montana. And while the competitions are very important to the athletes, we found out they are extremely important to the family members of the athletes as well.
"It's a game changer, it's added a piece to our life that has a ripple effect that you wouldn't be able to describe. But the experience has been life altering for both our family and Abbie's experience of being in the world," explained Mamie Flinn, whose daughter has Down Syndrome.
Abbie wasn't always able to keep up with her siblings, but thanks to organizations like Special Olympics and Dream Adaptive. Her coach Jeff Carlson tells us Abbie and other athletes are doing what they deserve to do.
"Absolutely, they have as much right to be out on the slopes and as a matter of fact, they bring an added element to the slopes that's enjoyable to all of us so." Carlson said.
Abbie didn't have many words for us Monday, but she did express why doing what her family does is so important.
Her Down Syndrome and has kept her muscle tone very low, meaning she can't do a lot of physical exercise, but through Dream Adaptive, and the Special Olympics, .the only thing Abbie was on Monday, was an athlete.
"It actually was quite emotional, just being out there with our whole family, and a lot of years of Abbie being left behind when we went skiing and now she comes with and we all tear down the mountain and we're all skiing together," Abbie's dad Neil Kurtz explained.
The games continue on Tuesday at Whitefish Mountain Resort.