Friday, July 25, 2008

Will Hailey be host city for Special Olympics?

Mayor seeks housing for special athletes

Express Staff Writer

Mayor Rick Davis is hoping that Hailey becomes a host city for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. It will be a chance for the city to participate in the biggest sporting event ever in Idaho.

"We are going to need translators for the athletes," Davis said. "So far I think we have a Russian speaker and Chinese speaker. These athletes come from all over the world."

Three thousand athletes from 85 countries are expected to visit Idaho for the Winter World Games, which will take place in three locations in Idaho.

Boise will host the ice-skating and downhill skiing events. McCall will host snow shoeing. Sun Valley resort will host the snowboarding and Nordic skiing events.

Davis hopes Hailey residents will open their homes and hearts and help find places for these athletes to stay while they are in town.

Special Olympics Education Director Mary Gervase said as many as 700 athletes will come to the Wood River Valley for the games, which take place Feb 7-13, 2009.

"The athletes need to come to Idaho up to five days before the games begin in order to acclimatize to the elevation of southern Idaho," she said.

A formal presentation on the Special Olympics Host City Program will take place Wednesday, July 30 at Hailey City Hall at 10:00 a.m.

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