Special Olympics athletes ski at state

MT. BACHELOR — Twelve Gorge-area Special Olympics athletes participated in the state ski and snowboard competition last weekend at Mt. Bachelor. And what a time they had.

Athletes from Hood River, Wasco, Sherman and Klickitat (Wash.) counties represented the Columbia Gorge chapter of the Special Olympics, and everyone who competed medaled.

“Everyone did really well, but I was mostly impressed with our sportsmanship,” head coach Carole Schmidt said. “Our athletes were encouraging each other as well as other teams. I’d say that’s where we really excelled.”

Local skiing highlights were Eric Foxley of Hood River, who won two silver medals in the adult intermediate downhill and giant slalom events, and 9-year-old Alek Taylor-Hope of White Salmon, who won gold in the junior slalom race and bronze in the GS.

Local snowboard highlights came from The Dalles competitors Matthew Hodges, Kardell Mann and J.J. Petty, who made up the Gorge’s new three-person team. Hodges and Mann each won a gold and a silver, while Petty won two bronze medals.

“Those kids were determined to snowboard this year,” Schmidt said. “The Summit Snowboard Team better look out.”

Summit team members Jordan Schmidt, Isaac Stranz and Meghan Ferns have all donated time to the program this year.

“We really couldn’t do this without the high school kids and the volunteer coaches,” Schmidt said.

Coaches Nick Berthold, Devin McKenna, Greg Dearholt, Marcie Logan, Fran O’Brien and Keith and Janis Robinson also helped make last weekend a success. If you have questions about Special Olympics, call Schmidt at 541-478-3716.

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