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Sugarbush/VASS Special Olympics Team competes at Winter Games

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The 2010 Special Olympic Winter Games were held March 12 through 14 at Woodstock Inn and Suicide Six ski area in South Pomfret, Vermont.

This was the 39th year and largest Winter Games to date with 382 athletes participating, a 38.4 percent increase from 2009.

Nine athletes from The Valley's Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports/Sugarbush participated in the alpine slalom, giant slalom and Super G races: Phillip Kellum, Christopher Riley and Grace Kirpan of Moretown, Tommy Johnson of Warren, Bennett Townley of Williston, Gabriel Teran of Montpelier, Josh Bartold of East Montpelier, and two new members, McKayla and Jakob Kingsbury of Waitsfield. Jakob, the youngest team member, is the team's first snowboard competitor.

Competing in the novice slalom, giant slalom and Super G category, Josh took home a gold and fourth-place ribbon and Jakob had a spectacular first year winning a gold and two silver medals.

Competing in the intermediate category, Phillip Kellum celebrated his 20th anniversary as an Olympic competitor and took home a gold and two silver medals. Christopher won two gold medals and a fourth-place ribbon, Ben took home a gold and silver, Grace won a gold, fourth- and fifth-place ribbon, Gabriel took home a silver, McKayla received a fourth-place ribbon, and Tommy participated in the preliminary time trial races. All nine athletes competed with smiles, determination, wonderful team spirit and sheer enjoyment of the games.

The athletes thanked their head coach Henry Erikson, Rich Reisner and the many volunteers at VASS who helped coach this season. The team is made possible through the generosity of Sugarbush and Maggie Burke, director of Vermont Adaptive at Sugarbush North.

For more information on how to become involved with Vermont Adaptive at Sugarbush, contact Maggie Burke at 583-4283 or visit the website:  www.Vermontadaptive.org.

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