ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Neillsville snowboarder Daina Shilts 3-time medalist at Special Olympics

By: Jenn Chapman Email
By: Jenn Chapman Email

My knees kind of gave out, I was so happy," says Special Olympic snowboarder Daina Shilts.

After falling on her first run of the slalom at the Special Olympics Winter Games in South Korea, Neillsville resident Daina Shilts, nailed her second run and came away with the silver. She then went on to win two more medals.

"Any medal mean more than you than the other?" I asked.
"The gold means a lot to me," says Daina. "Because one, it's the gold and two, it was hard competition getting that gold."

Daina says these were moments she will never forget...her mother echos these sentiments.

"I tried to take many pictures and videos, and most of mine are blurred because I was either shaking with excitement or just taking in the moment," said Daina's mother, Jan Shilts.

Daina credits the Special Olympics to her growth as both an athlete and as a a person.

"Got me more to be open to people, and just to make more friends," says Daina.

"I just want to give back, I want to spread the word, how wonderful it has been for our daughter," says Jan. "And for your child to feel that success it shows right through them. You know it's a good feeling."

The feedback Daina has received from the community and family has been overwhelming.

"Most people I would say inspire me but to know that I'm inspiring people, it's an amazing feeling. It touches my heart," says Daina.

She hopes she inspires others to do one thing...

"Just to take life not by granted. Just to take life one step at a time."

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