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Today's Family Magazine

Lake County Special Olympics Athlete Kicks off Opening Ceremonies!

Feb 11, 2019 03:47PM

Group: From left, Sam Kreger (ski partner), Andrew Grebenc, Chuck Guenther (coach), Joe Persavich, Kevin Hutchins

Joe Persavich, age 36, from Lake County Special Olympics will participate in the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics Ohio Winter Games, which will be held at Brandywine Ski Resort located at 1146 West Highland Rd, Sagamore Hills, Ohio, on February 13–14, 2019. 

Joe will ski the Down Draft slope carrying the Special Olympics flag, and then bring the Flame of Hope torch across the bridge to light the infamous cauldron. He will also lead the Special Olympics Oath: ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’

“It’s a really big deal to be in the opening ceremony,“ said Joe. “I just love skiing and I love competing.” Joe started skiing when he was 8 years old and is a fan of our northeast Ohio winters. 

The Flame of Hope symbolizes the Special Olympics goal: shining a light on the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. The torch is carried proudly by Special Olympics athletes and supporters ahead of the Opening Ceremony at Special Olympics state games.

This year, at the Special Olympics State Winter Games, there will be 145 athletes representing 14 local programs from around the state of Ohio. Lake County will have 21 athletes, including unified athletes, competing in downhill skiing, speed skating, figure skating and cross country skiing. 

“Lake County athletes are dedicated to putting in the time, energy and practice needed to reach their athletic goals,” said Chris Bundy Lake County Special Olympics local coordinator. “Their season starts at the first of the year, with skating starting earlier in September, and doesn’t end until the Winter Games. They're ready to compete … and win.”

Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to 5 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in 172 countries.

The Special Olympic State Winter Games are open to the public. 

To learn more about Special Olympics, visit www.specialolympics.org.

Those interested in learning more about the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities/Deepwood’s programs and services can visit www.lakebdd.org or visit them on social media.