Cross country skiing

Special Olympics Winter Games a tradition for North Dakota athletes

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BOTTINEAU, N.D. – Friday night marked the beginning of another North Dakota Winter Special Olympics at the Bottineau Winter Park.

The event showcases the athletic talents of children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

For Christy Coughlin, the Special Olympics Winter Games are a time for connections, old and new.

“Making new friends. Supporting each other. It’s just a passion because you fit in that group. It’s like a family I could say,” said Coughlin.

Coughlin is one of the more than 70 athletes from all over the Peace Garden State that made their way to the Turtle Mountains for the games. She comes from Minot and has represented the U.S. on the world stage. This year, she carried the torch to start the events.

“It’s just an honor because I’ve never skied down with a torch in my life,” said Coughlin.

These games value family, where the ones that raised you can still be the ones to coach you through adversity, like in the case of father-son team Jim and David Schmidt who we also met last year. And some make the trip just to make their friends and family proud who are rooting for them back home, like Luke Weimberg, who wanted to say hi to his roommate in Bismarck.

“I have something special for Caleb. An awesome guy, and a good roommate, and very proud of me, and a very loving person,” said Weimberg.

The Special Olympics are just that, special.

But it’s a title that doesn’t scratch the surface of how inspiring this group of athletes truly are.

The games continue Saturday with competitions starting at 10 a.m.

For information on Special Olympics North Dakota, visit:

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