This weekend's Special Olympics Winter Games have been canceled because of the cold weather. It's the second year in a row the games couldn't be held in the Wausau area.
With wind chills in the forecast for minus 15 degrees on Saturday and even colder on Sunday, organizers decided to play it safe and call off the outdoor activities: snowshoe racing and cross country skiing at the Nine Mile Forest, and snowboarding and alpine skiing on Rib Mountain. Athletes from across the state -- 223 in all -- signed up for the annual competition this year.
Deb Moore-Gruenloh, who manages a Special Olympics team for the Wisconsin Rapids School District, said her nine athletes are disappointed.
“This is the one meet that we get to travel and stay overnight in a hotel, and the athletes really look forward to that piece of it too: socializing with their friends, and be able to go to the dance and go swimming,” she said. “It's disappointing that they won't be able to do that again this year.”
It's the second year in a row that the Special Winter Games have fallen victim to Wisconsin's fickle January weather. Moore-Gruenloh said maybe organizers should consider moving them to February.
“Last year, it was because we didn't have enough snow. I would think (about) maybe trying it in February?” she said. “We can always try it and see.”
Wisconsin's other annual Olympics-style competition, the Badger State Winter Games, will take place as scheduled this weekend in Wausau. The Special Olympics indoor activities have not been canceled.