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Special Olympics getting ready to start
By: Kerri Corrado
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- While the 2014 Winter Olympics are being held in Sochi, the area's Special Olympics are getting ready to kick off in Cambria County.
The annual winter games will take place in and around Johnstown from February 9-11.
"It's like an old homecoming, everyone comes home to Johnstown," said Paula Epply- Newman, a volunteer who helps out at the Olympics.
Epply-Newman said the excitement and pride of the athletes is something organizers look forward to each year and said that its a life-changing event.
"You get the hugs and smiles, [and] you know why you are doing it because you are bringing a smile to their face and you know it," Epply-Newman said.
Athletes compete in all types of events in venues from three different counties throughout the region.
"The joy they will feel when they cross the line. It brings a whole new outlook to life," Epply-Newman said.
The annual Polar Plunge will kick start the Special Olympics activities on Saturday morning at the Quemahoning Dam in Somerset County. Supporters will jump into the freezing water to help raise money for the athletes."
The least we can do is jump in some cold water and raise some money to make that happen for them," Epply-Newman said.
Click here for more details on the games and for a schedule of events.