BEND, OR -- Special Olympics Oregon has canceled its annual Winter Games Snow Sports event, scheduled for this weekend at Mt Bachelor. "Our senior vice president of sports was monitoring the weather closely to make sure everything was going to be safe and a good experience for the athletes on the mountain," David Warner tells KBND News. "He was in contact with several different weather services and Mt. Bachelor, and just came to the hard decision and realization that, with the weather calling for rain and wind on Saturday and even worse on Sunday, that it was best for everybody to cancel the event for Saturday and Sunday." Warner says the non-profit has held the state winter games have been held in Bend for about 25 years and this is the first time the organization has been forced to call them off. "Last year we had to cancel the Sunday competition because of very similar weather. We were able to get the competition in on Saturday of last year, but had to cancel Sunday for very much the same conditions- rain and wind up on the mountain."
Special Olympics pays travel and lodging expenses for the more than 200 athletes and coaches who take part in the games. Warner says they hoped to get word out with enough time for families and spectators to cancel hotel reservations. "It’s a hard decision to make with so many people involved; it was just the best decision for the safest and highest quality of event on the mountain. I would just hate to have anything happen in traveling or just to be miserable on the mountain in the rain and wind. It just wasn’t the best idea for us, so we had to call it."
He says the games will not be rescheduled, "That’s the heartbreaking part of this. These athletes and coaches put in a lot of long hard hours to get ready for this competition. They unfortunately won’t be able to compete, but had the great experience of training and forming those friendships with their fellow athletes and coaches." Warner says they hope for more favorable conditions, next year.