It's a tournament that brings together athletes from all over the state and generates a lot of excitement. But for the 2nd year in a row, the annual Special Olympics winter games has been canceled.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It's a tournament that brings together athletes from all over the state and generates a lot of excitement. But for the 2nd year in a row, the annual Special Olympics winter games have been canceled.
It impacts about 220 athletes statewide. 52 of those athletes are from Eau Claire, says Karen Kraus, Regional Director of Development, Indianhead Region, for Special Olympics Wisconsin.
One of those athletes is Brandon Drinkman. He participates in the snowshoe events and would normally be strapping up one last time this weekend to compete in the tournament. But once again this year plans have changed.
"I got that phone call and I was really upset, I was thinking, not again," Drinkman said.
Last year there was not enough snow. And now this year it is way too cold.
"I trained for a sport I love to do and they have to cancel it because of the weather, kinda sucks," he said.
"For the last three years we have won the relay by over 100 yards, so they are fighting to keep that gold," he said.
The cancellation is also tough for Cindy Klevgard. She has been a Special Olympics coach for 15 years -- 13 years of that with Brandan. She knows how much everyone one looks forward to the state tournament. A place where it is not always about winning, it is just about having fun.
"Their attitudes are always great, there is no poor sportsmanship," Klevgard said.
"Their whole goal is to get to state and compete. If they bring home a medal that's awesome but they just love the opportunity to compete at state and talk about that for years to come," Kraus said.
Now Brandan and Cindy are pushing forward and preparing for the next state tournament.
"Sadly enough last year we couldn't do it, this year we couldn't do it but hopefully next year we'll be able to continue with that," she added.