Rachel Hurn twice took to the podium at the Vermont Special Olympics season finale, winning gold medals in both the intermediate Slalom and Super G at Suicide Six ski area in Pomfret, VT last weekend.
Rachel is a sixth-grader Villa Maria school in Stamford, Conn. and is in her second season with the AbilityPLUS Bluebirds alpine race team at Mount Snow, Vermont.
“It has been amazing to watch Rachel’s progress this season,” said Corey Robinson, Rachel’s race coach with AbilityPLUS at Mount Snow. “She’s shown so much potential all year, so it was great to see Rachel put her skills to the test and win gold, twice!”
The AbilityPLUS Bluebirds adaptive alpine race team, named by team members after their favorite chairlift, trains weekly at Mount Snow, Vermont and is comprised of athletes aspiring to both Paralympic and Special Olympics competition. The team’s seven Special Olympics racers come from throughout the northeast, with three from Connecticut.
“The team has had an incredible run this season, winning more than a dozen medals at the Vermont Special Olympics,” said Sue Tatem, AbilityPLUS Executive Director of Programs, and Bluebirds head coach. “We created the AbilityPLUS alpine race team in 2011 to give students like Rachel, who were interested in Paralympic and Special Olympics competition, the opportunity to train and the means to enter regional races. “In just two short years we’ve got an amazing team, and seeing Rachel at the top of the podium was just awesome!”
Every member of the AbilityPLUS Bluebirds made it to the medals podium at the Vermont Special Olympics season finale Saturday.
“It is a huge accomplishment and a testament to the dedication of the racers and volunteer coaches who work with us weekly,” Tatem added.
The Special Olympics, founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities.
The organization provides training and competitions for 3.7 million athletes in 170 countries. The Special Olympics winter World Games was held Jan. 26-Feb. 6, 2013 in Pyeonghang, South Korea.
AbilityPLUS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in its 16th year of enriching the lives of program participants, their families, friends and a community of volunteers who work to provide year ‘round adaptive sports and recreation for individuals with all manner of disabilities, from severe physical impairments to people with autism across the spectrum.
The AbilityPLUS Soldiers For Soldiers program serves wounded veterans and active-duty service members with various injuries, including amputations, brain injuries, burns, visual and hearing impairments, all forms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other emotional scars. AbilityPLUS is a Chapter of DSUSA and is a Paralympic Sport Club. Additional information about AbilityPLUS and full menu of programs is available by calling 800-287-8415 x103 or online at AbilityPLUS.org.