Special olympics begins this week

INCLINE VILLAGE - For three days this week, more than 60 athletes and their families will descend upon Diamond Peak and Spooner Lake for Nevada's Special Olympics Winter Games.

"Some of the skiers are darn good," said Bob Carrington, this year's Special Olympics Games chairman.

Olympic events and festivities will span Tuesday through Thursday with the Washoe County Sheriff's team finishing the historic Olympic torch run on the deck of the Diamond Peak Ski Resort lodge.

"Every Olympian who participates in the games is a winner," Carrington said.

Chairing the 2000 Special Olympics games is a first for Carrington. Incline resident Jim Nakada was chairman for the last 10 years, Carrington said. "Jim's been standing behind me, guiding me," he said.

Tuesday registration starts at 9 a.m. at the Diamond Peak resort lodge with opening ceremonies beginning at 11 a.m.

Olympians will march with their flags and banners while awaiting the final run of the torch.

Seeding for Wednesday's and Thursday's racing events starts at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Events like the slalom, giant slalom and downhill races will be run at Diamond Peak, while a new event - snowshoeing - will be at Spooner Lake.

Wednesday, after a long day of friendly competition on the slopes, the athletes, their families, and about 100 volunteers will satisfy their hunger with a spaghetti feed at The Chateau, an event sponsored by Incline Properties.

Sponsoring the dinner was something Incline Properties officials said they felt they could get behind.

Sharon Kirby of Incline Properties said, "We were approached and asked if we could participate and we said yes."

Those interested in watching the events Wednesday and Thursday should put winter boots on and be prepared to do some walking, Carrington said. The courses at Diamond Peak aren't set up for spectators, he said.

Most of the time people just need their "Sorrels and a parka" to stand and watch the events near the main lodge, he said.

Washoe County's Alpine Ski Team will be one of the featured evens of the games.

The "team trains more days than any other Special Olympics Alpine ski program in the country," said Max Cruz, Washoe's Alpine coach. "But you won't find a single one who is not having fun and doesn't love what they're doing."

Closing ceremonies and awards presentations begin at 5 p.m. at the main lodge Thursday.


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