North Dakota Special Olympics winter games begin

BOTTINEAU, N.D. - Roughly 100 athletes from all across the Peace Garden State are showcasing their skills in Bottineau this weekend for the Winter Special Olympics.

Events started on Friday with the opening ceremony held Friday night.

Some of the athletes took to the slopes at the winter park, competing in Alpine skiing, snow shoe and cross-country skiing.

Christy Coughlin, Special Olympic Alpine skier said, "It's my passion. I've been doing this for almost 25 years. It's a great experience and I like to meet other people, meet new friends and stuff. It's really important in my life because I know Special Olympics means a lot."

If these athletes score high enough at the state competition, they can qualify for regionals.

But the spirit of the games is about much more than winning.

They work hard and want to win, all while maintaining good sportsmanship.

"I think our Special Olympic athletes recognize opportunities for what they are, they appreciate them. You see a spirit of enjoyment, fun. That unfiltered sense of enjoyment of life,” said Kathy Meagher, North Dakota Special Olympics President and CEO.

The winter games continue at the Bottineau Winter Park Saturday with all events beginning at 10 a.m.