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Alaskans claim medals in Special Olympics World Winter Games

first_imgJennifer Troutman, 23, competes in the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. (Photo from Special Olympics Alaska)Two Alaskans traveled to Austria in March to compete in the Special Olympics World Winter Games – and both came back with some hardware.Listen nowJennifer Troutman is an alpine skier, and at this year’s world games, she competed in two events, medaling in the Super G. The 23-year-old from Anchorage also received a participation ribbon in the Giant Slalom.Jennifer Troutman poses with her silver medal from the alpine skiing Super G event. (Photo by Josh Edge/Alaska Public Media)Troutman has been competing in alpine skiing for the last seven years, but she said this was her first time competing on an international stage.“It was amazing,” Troutman said. “I mean, I’d get to the gate and I’d just zone in on those first six gates, I think it was; it was awesome.”Leading up to the World Games, Troutman did most of her training runs at Anchorage’s Hilltop Ski Area. So, when it came to competing on a different – and bigger – mountain in Austria, she said it was a bit of a change.“Schladming was some of the roughest terrain, because it was spring skiing,” Troutman said.Troutman said the snow on the racecourse was crystallized, which made for some really fast, but challenging runs.Sarah Arts, the director of sports and programs for Special Olympics Alaska, said it’s a complex, and in-depth process for an athlete to qualify for and compete in the world games. Because they compete for Special Olympics USA with teammates from across the country, only a couple Alaskan athletes get to go.Among the many steps, is ensuring the athlete has the ability and time to train. For example, she said Jennifer Troutman’s training began almost a year ago.“They worked on specific skills in the gym that would help her on the ski slope,” Arts said. “Once the snow hit the ground, she was probably on the mountain three to four times a week.”Madison Englund competes in the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. (Photo from Special Olympics Alaska)Another Alaskan athlete also competed at the world games – snowboarder Madison Englund.Englund lives in Fairbanks, which Sarah Arts said can make things a little more complicated.“Because if it’s too cold, they can’t get out on the mountain and there was a couple week stretch there she wasn’t able to get outside and actually snowboard,” Arts said. “So she had to do a creative dryland training to stay in shape.”Despite the minor training issues, Englund still managed to snag a gold medal in the snowboarding Super G.Englund also claimed silver in the Giant Slalom.The Special Olympics World Games are held every two years, alternating between winter and summer sports.Alpine skier Jennifer Troutman said she had fun meeting athletes from around the world and competing at the international level.“And I would do it all over again,” Troutman said. “I’m hooked.”That’s an opportunity she might have again in a couple years. She’s preparing for the state’s summer games, where she’ll compete in swimming.If she does well, she could have a chance to compete at the 2019 Special Olympics Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.last_img

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