STARS athletes compete at regional Special Olympics at Sunlight Ski Area
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The spirit of competition is good.
Whether it’s crossing the finish line of a race or shaking the hands of other competitors after a game, sportsmanship spans all ages and abilities.
STARS — Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports — is not only an organization that provides opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in outdoor activities, but the nonprofit also allows them to compete and enjoy a sense of accomplishment.
Last weekend, STARS sent 10 athletes to the Special Olympics regional competition at Sunlight Ski Area in Glenwood Springs to compete in the slalom and super G.
“You could make the case that anyone competing in sports has the opportunity to further their experiences, and it’s no different for the Special Olympians,” STARS program director Mike Boone said. “[They] not only practice skiing but get into a competition setting, compete with other athletes and have that experience. Everyone walks away with a ribbon to show they participated, and they get up on the medal stand and have the theme played.”
As one of the athletes participating, Drew Boglioli took third in the giant slalom and second in the super-G. He competed in the advanced division, since he is well-seasoned in skiing competitions like NASTAR nationals.
“I like the trying to win part,” Drew said. “Besides it [Special Olympics] being cold in the morning, it was fine.”
STARS opened up the world of competitive skiing for Drew, who has a cognitive disability. Even though he had been skiing since he was 5, it wasn’t until he moved to Steamboat Springs from New Jersey in 2015 that he learned he could compete.
“It’s pretty exciting,” his mother Joan Boglioli said. “I’ve done a lot of sports events, he and me — it’s exciting to watch his progress. I find Special Olympics to be a little bit more satisfying for me just because the other participants are so excited to be there.”
STARS skiers practice every Sunday at Steamboat Resort if they don’t have a competition, and they’ve been practicing since the snow first started falling. The regional competition sets them up for a state Special Olympics competition on March 2 at Copper Mountain.
Special Olympics are just one example of the numerous opportunities people with disabilities in Steamboat Springs can enjoy. Drew also participates in weekly summer camps where he goes horseback riding.
“I think that people should know about the STARS program,” Joan said. “If you don’t have someone who needs to participate in it, I’m not sure that its common knowledge,” Joan said. “It almost seems as though when one speaks of disability you think automatically of a physical handicap. STARS offers a lot to many more people than that.”
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