Rosie Ramirez, of Montrose, hugs Nancy Morris, also of Montrose, after completing an exhibition race Saturday at Moffat County High School.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Rosie Ramirez, of Montrose, hugs Nancy Morris, also of Montrose, after completing an exhibition race Saturday at Moffat County High School.

Games go on

Weather doesn't dampen spirit of Saturday's Special Olympics

Advertisement

— Adverse conditions caused by cold temperatures and gusty winds forced organizers of Saturday's annual Special Olympics games to cancel most of the scheduled track and field events.

Still, the cancellation did little to dampen the overall spirit of the games.

"I was really disappointed and I know the Kiwanis guys were disappointed," said Jim Herschberg, a Kiwanis Club member and games director. "But, everybody said they had a great time. There wasn't a person who came up to me that said, 'man, we should have run in that stuff.'

"Trying to keep people warm and loose in those circumstances was kind of impossible. I was glad nobody had to suffer out there."

Despite roughly one-third of the games' events being canceled due to the weather, athletes and coaches from around the Western Slope, including Craig and Steamboat Springs, were able to compete in power lifting and aquatics.

Organizers also replaced the track and field events with some unofficial competitions in the Moffat County High School gymnasium.

Overall, an estimated 100 to 150 medals were awarded to athletes Saturday.

"The coaches and athletes were just as excited," Herschberg said. "It was still a success."

Julie Fite, Special Olympics Colorado Western area manager, agreed with the games director.

"It was just extenuating circumstances," Fite said. "We had to consider the well-being of the athletes. Power lifting and aquatics went well as did the night before. We've been here since (the 1980s), so we've had a pretty good run of good luck.

"The Kiwanis Club is great to us. We couldn't do it without them."

The Special Olympics, she added, will return to Craig next year.

A day before the games, Herschberg talked about why he and other Kiwanis Club members work hard to organize and coordinate the competition. The club begins laying the groundwork for next year's games a few weeks after the competition.

"There's always an athlete or two that just really sticks out in my mind," he said, citing the proud look athletes wear when earning a medal. "As soon as it's over it gives me the energy to start over. I guess it's kind of like stealing energy from those folks.

"It inspires me. It keeps me inspired."

Did he see that proud look on athlete's face Saturday?

"That happened a bunch," he said. "And that was whether a kid had three gold medals or one ribbon."

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.