KILLINGTON—For the first time, Pico Mountain hosted the Special Olympics Vermont Winter Games March 18-20.
“This will be my first Winter Games experience, and the first time Special Olympics Vermont has hosted the event at Pico,” said Sue Minter, president and CEO of the statewide organization, before the event. “We are honored by the warm welcome we’ve received from the Killington and Rutland communities and look forward to some amazing snow conditions for the Games!”
The Winter Games began on Sunday, March 18, with the opening ceremony and the parade of athletes at Pico. Community members cheer ed on the 300 athletes and unified partners that competed in the Games.
Competition in Alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing began the following day, March 19, and continued through Tuesday, March 20. Athletes also enjoyed a dinner and dance at the Killington Grand on Monday evening.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver started Special Olympics in 1968 as a backyard sports program for people with intellectual disabilities. This year, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of what has grown into a global movement.
“Fifty years later, Special Olympics now involves 5 million athletes in 170 countries around the world with sports, health, and leadership programming,” said Minter. “This 50th anniversary year is an exciting pivot point: we are celebrating our past and how far we’ve come, while setting big goals for our future. In the next 50 years, we will expand the number of participants and build a new generation of understanding and inclusion.”
Photo courtesy of Special Oympics Vermont
A special olympian at the Vermont Winter Games celebrates his podium finish with a smile.