The Special Olympics of Tennessee celebrated the 33rd Annual Winter Games here at Ober! We love being able to host this incredible organization and the athletes that participate. We saw some wonderful displays of sportsmanship and impressive displays of talent and ability.
Competitors came from all over the state of Tennessee to compete in three categories: speed skating, alpine skiing, and snowboarding. Many participants were seasoned pros, while others were experiencing these activities for the first time. Like anyone experiencing these winter sports for the first time, some were intimidated and even a little scared or frustrated, but one of the most spectacular parts of watching the Winter Games was seeing the competitors, parents, and peers encouraging one another.
Amy Parker, who is part of the Special Olympics of Tennessee Staff, guest hosted our #Noonski Facebook Live Show and shared a story of an Ice Skating competitor whose confidence was rocked after a fall and started to cry. With the help of one of the more experienced participants and the encouraging cheers from the crowd, the competitor was able to keep going, her tears dried and were replaced with certainty and self-assurance. Parker states, “They want their friends to compete at their best level almost more than themselves… And they know that they are competing against one another- that they can win Gold, Silver or Bronze, but they aren’t going to place Gold, Silver, or Bronze, at a detriment to one of their fellow athletes… It’s hard to put into words the teamwork you see.”
We are proud to continue the tradition of the Tennessee Winter Olympics here at Ober for the 33rd year. The Special Olympics Program has played a significant role in Ober Gatlinburg’s history as a ski resort and we plan to continue the partnership for years to come. Thanks again to the Special Olympics of Tennessee for allowing us to host this extraordinary event!