43rd annual Special Olympics Winter Games kick-off at Seven Springs

Local News

SEVEN SPRINGS, SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The rain may have been coming down all day, but it couldn’t stop more than 300 top-notch athletes from competing in their events.

The opening ceremonies for the winter games started Sunday night with the torch lighting, and the cauldron was lit by one of Bedford’s own.

“It was my first time and I’m on a committee for the winter games and I’m proud,” says Christa Mereen.

Mereen has been competing at the games for more than 19 years and she does it all.

“Softball, track and field, bowling, bocce, snowshoeing, swimming.”

For Christa and another athlete Jack Founds, the weekend is more than just competing for medals.

“Meeting new people and you know exciting things and also getting more opportunities than I’ve ever gotten before in my lifetime,” says Founds.

Jack has also been competing for 19 years and he says the games have had a huge impact on his life.

“Because of the Special Olympics, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today in wanting to help people.”

President of the Special Olympics here in Pennsylvania, Matt Aaron, says these competitions serve as a platform.

“So it’s important to show what they can do on the slopes, on the basketball court, on the playing field but more than that it’s important to show what they can do in life and off the court.”

There are 350 athletes competing from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The games wrap up Tuesday with the closing ceremony.

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