WINTER GAMES: Special Olympics Competition

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The best in the world will compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in three weeks.

On Sunday night, hundreds of athletes are gearing up for a competition in Iowa.   The Special Olympics State Winter Games start tomorrow in Dubuque.

And gearing up to hit the slopes is 25-year-old Angela Oberlander of Des Moines.

“It’s fun.  It’s easy for me to do,” Oberlander said.

Oberlander competes in the slalom and giant slalom.  She won the gold at the Winter Games last year and added the medal to her wall.

“I have 62 gold medals,” Oberlander said.

Oberlander first started participating in the Special Olympics 14 years ago.  She has won gold medals in everything from gymnastics to skiing.

“My coach is my Dad.  He’s so proud of me,” she said.

“She’s good at anything she puts her mind to. She’s an extremely hard worker,” said Angela’s father, Al Oberlander.

Four-hundred athletes are expected to compete in three days of winter types of sports and activities.  In addition to Alpine and Nordic skiing, sporting events include figure skating, snow shoeing and speed skating.

“It’s fun to get to know the athletes and see them do the very best that they can and then celebrate whether they win or are just doing the very best that they can,” said Joyce Allard with Special Olympics Iowa.

“You feel so good after you get done with one of these events.  Just the camaraderie of the athletes, they’re all so pumped, they’re all cheering each other on,” said Al Oberlander.

The opening ceremony for the Winter Games is Monday evening.  The event includes a parade of athletes and the traditional flame lighting. Most of the competition will take place on Tuesday and the games wrap up on Wednesday.

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