HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Three North Alabama residents have the opportunity to compete at the 2021 Special Olympics Winter World Games in Sweden.
Elizabeth Allen, Deeb Habchi, and Kelly Rice received letters over the Thanksgiving holiday stating they had been nominated for team USA.
The athletes are part of the Alabama Special Olympics Skating Team. Kelly and Deeb are Madison residents and Elizabeth is from Harvest.
“Beth Allen and Deeb Habchi are going as level one. and then Kelly is a level four,” said head coach Heidi Parker.
Head coach Heidi Parker says it’s exceptional that three of her skaters were nominated.
“For these three athletes they get the opportunity of a life time,” said Parker.
Coach Parker says the Winter World Games will include an opening ceremony, competition, closing ceremony just like you see on t.v. but the experience will be one to remember for these athletes.
“They’ll stay in the athlete’s village, they’ll have all their meals and things of that nature and then they will also get to go do a little sight-seeing while they are in Sweden as a team,” said Parker.
Coach Parker says while it seems like 2021 is pretty far away, these ice skaters will already be preparing and spending extra time here on the ice.
“They will practice all through the summer and into next winter just fine-tuning all of their elements and their programs,” said Parker.
Coach Parker says skating season for the team is from October to February but most of her athletes skate year-round to improve their skills.
In February 2020, the three athletes will leave Madison County for camp in Colorado to train with team USA. Final selections for the national team will be made after team trials in February.
The Alabama Special Olympics Skating Team‘s Facebook said the Alabama Skating Team is a proud component of the Special Olympics program. The team currently has 10 members and represents mostly North Alabama.