BLOWING ROCK – More than 130 athletes from several counties in North Carolina plus Virginia and South Carolina descended on an unseasonably warm Appalachian Ski Mtn. on Jan. 12-13 for the Special Olympics North Carolina Winter Games – Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding.

The opening ceremonies took place Sunday, Jan. 12, and concluded with the lighting of the torch by the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and Blowing Rock Police Department. Watauga athlete Trenton Williams officially lit the torch to open the games.

The Special Olympics motto was read aloud by Orange County athlete Brandon Barbaro, with all athletes repeating the phrase “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Athletes and coaches represented Avery County, Beauford and Hyde counties, Buncombe County, Burke County, Cabarrus County, Cleveland County, Gaston County, Guilford/Greensboro, Guilford/High Point, Iredell County, the J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center, Johnson County, Lake Norman, Mecklenburg County, Orange County, Wake County, S.C., Virginia and the host, Watauga County.

The medal events took place Monday, Jan. 13, earlier than expected due to the melting snow, but it didn’t deter the athletes from going for the gold, as well as parents, coaches, helpers and volunteers from cheering on those who competed.

The medal ceremonies, taking place inside, had the athletes walk in to cheers and accept their awards as fellow competitors, parents, coaches and volunteers crowded in to get a picture of the new medalists.

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