Joy MacLeod representing Special Olympics Colorado at World Games in Austria

Mixed start for Uganda at World Special Olympics

This year, the JJC PD hopes to raise $7,000 to directly benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

She'll begin the day at her favorite coffee shop - Blackbird Bakery in Winslow - for one last taste of home before wrangling her pack of luggage over to the ferry and eventually to SeaTac, where that grand excursion will begin in earnest.

The Winter Games feature 2,700 Special Olympians from 107 countries.

The opening ceremony for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games is today.

"I think what's so impressive about Joy is just how many sports she does - skiing, snowshoeing, skating, gymnastic, basketball and all kinds of things", friend Jean Illig explained while noting Joy has been awarded more than 900 Special Olympic medals. She's even been working on her German to go along with her physical preparation for the games.

"The most exciting thing about this is going to Austria, skiing with Team USA, and looking at the Alps and getting souvenirs", she says. The event offers team and individual skills competitions.

Not a frown could be seen as over 100 athletes, volunteers and the East Gadsden High School band participated in a Special Olympics Parade that kicks off the event each year. The only stipulation was she had to attend the camp without her family. She said, "I will do my best". "Meeting new people." said another athlete, Bryce Myers.

"It has been absolutely fantastic to bring awareness to Special Olympics with my fellow law enforcement officers from around the world", said Winter, adding that he is "deeply honored" to be chosen as a Guardian of the Flame representative.

"It's really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity", her dad said.

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