Special Olympics athletes compete at Mt. Bachelor

Others participate in Bend powerlifting competition

POSTED: 10:34 PM PST March 9, 2013 
MT. BACHELOR, Ore. -

Some of the best Special Olympic athletes in the state are competing in the 2013 Special Olympics Oregon Games at Mt. Bachelor this weekend.

The two day event featured four snow sports including cross country skiing, alpine skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding.

Nearly 200 athletes competed from all over the state.

Athletes train for eight to 10 weeks, working with their coaches on technique and enduring any weather situations -- something the athletes didn't need to worry about Saturday.

"It is phenomenal to watch everybody so happy, so excited," said Jill Simmons, volunteer local program coordinator for Special Olympics Oregon. "And they are racing their hearts out, and they are going as fast as they possibly can. And they trained all season long."

"Meeting new people -- I love that," said Andrea Gifford, a skiing athlete. "And it's good exercise, too."

"It's really exciting to see them at a competition," Mark Hanken said. "And it's a cherry on top when you get to come to a spectacular resort like Mt. Bachelor."

Mt. Bachelor has been hosting the games for the past 25 years.

Several students were from the High Desert region, including Melissa Murray, who placed first in alpine skiing.

Special Olympic athletes weren't just competing on the mountain Saturday, but they also hit the weight room.

Four local athletes competed in the powerlifting meet, hosted by Bend Barbell.

Three men and one woman were back at it again this year, trying to see if they could beat their previous records.

"I love seeing them have an opportunity to have a smile on their face and to be physically fit, be able to compete and have a good time," said Scott Edmondson, the head judge.

Judges were looking at a variety of techniques.

For example, in the squats, the judge was making sure the athlete squatted deep enough.

In the bench press event, the judge was making sure the athlete came down with the bar under control, touching their chest and locking the bar back out.

And on the dead lift, the judge was making sure the athlete brought to the floor to a full lockout.