Special Olympic athlete compete

Two local Special Olympic athletes performed well during the 2015 Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in Sun Peaks last weekend.

Two local Special Olympic athletes performed well during the 2015 Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in Sun Peaks last weekend.

Luke Smith and Torben Schuffert travelled to Kamloops to race in three timed alpine skiing events: super giant slalom, giant slalom and slalom.

“The races went great, the boys did really well, but they did not get any medals,” said head coach Eric Person.

“The boys had a lot of fun. I watched them ski all year and they skied as good or better than they have been. It’s excellent.”

Smith said he was not nervous to compete on a larger stage, and enjoyed the Super G race the most.

“No, I wasn’t nervous . . .It went well. I was happy with how well I did,” said Smith. “It was fast, there’s less turning, and less gates.”

Despite the fact that the races were much longer than the courses they had been training on, Schuffert said he did a good job with the turns.

“I had fun, but the races were long,” he said.

This year was the largest group of alpine skiers the Games have ever seen with 59 competitiors from eight regions.

Though neither athlete found the podium, they were happy with their performance and the experience interacting with athletes from all over the province.

During the opening ceremonies, some 700 athletes were paraded into the Tournament Capital Centre.

“I was really happy about that and I liked it very much,” said Torben.

His mother Sandra also travelled with them to the Games.

“As a parent of a special needs child, you’re always told what they cannot do, and you see how hard they have to work to achieve something and to finally have a moment where it’s all about them, it’s just so rare,” she said.

“There were quite a few parents sitting there and you could see it was quite emotional for them to see their children walking in there like important people.”

The athletes also received a warm welcome home at the Smithers Airport on Sunday night, as people from the community came out to celebrate their success.

“A lot of people came to the airport when I came home last night,” said Torben. “I was really happy when I saw those people outside.”