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July 24, 2014

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From left, Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman, Boone Police Dept. Capt. Andy LeBeau, Special Olympics athlete T’juana James and Boone Police officer Jake Harkey take part in the lighting of the official Special Olympics North Carolina cauldron during opening ceremonies. James is a Special Olympics athlete from Pasquotank County and is part of the Pasquotank/Camden combined team. She competes in both alpine sports and weightlifting. Harkey is a Special Olympics Team USA coach who traveled to South Korea this past summer to participate in the world games. Jeff Eason photo

Originally published: 2014-01-09 11:31:56
Last modified: 2014-01-09 11:32:41

SONC athletes gather

Drizzly weather on Sunday and bitter cold and high winds on Monday did little to deter the downhill daredevils of the 36th annual Special Olympics North Carolina Alpine Games.

More than 100 athletes from North Carolina and Virginia competed in the games, held at Appalachian Ski Mountain.

Events included an opening ceremony that featured the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner,” a convocation given by the Rev. Marion Swann, the oaths for officials, coaches and athletes, and the lighting of the Special Olympics cauldron.

Special Olympian T’juana James, a skier in the Winter Games and weightlifter in the Summer Games, lit the official cauldron with a torch handed to her by law enforcement officers from Appalachian State University, Boone Police Department and Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and personnel from Watauga Rescue.

Athletes engaged in practice runs and received downhill instruction from members of Appalachian Ski Mountain’s French-Swiss Ski College.

For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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