Special Olympics Winter Games wrap up in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Special Olympics Winter Games wrap up in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

The Iowa Special Olympics Winter Games came to an end today after three days of competition in Dubuque.

About 350 athletes from all over Iowa participated in events ranging from speed skating to slalom skiing to snowshoe racing, which was the games' final event today.

Travis Mull and his coach Wendy Olinger came from Marshalltown to compete in the event.

"He doesn't get a chance to get out of Marshalltown otherwise," Olinger said.

Mull said it's his second time competing in this particular event. "I'm liking it so far," he said.

He finished last in his race, but came in second in his division, netting him some shiny new hardware.

"I would say my performance is a nine out of 10," Mull said.

Olinger said Mull has a great attitude no matter what he was doing, as evidenced by the massive fist pump he gave when he received his medal.

"Whether they come in first place or eighth place, just being here is all the battle. So whatever they do, they just want to be out here and have fun," she said.

They also have to make the most of the opportunity, because for many of them this is one of only a handful of times they'll get to compete this year.

"And oftentimes, the sports that they participate in throughout the year, they only maybe get one or two competition opportunities, where their peers may get 25-30 opportunities to participate in their sports," said Shane Kiesner, Vice President of Sports Operations and Projects for Special Olympics, Iowa said. "So these opportunities for our athletes are so meaningful, because they're so few and far between."

The next major event for these athletes is the Summer Games, which take place in May at Iowa State University in Ames.

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