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Competitors, coaches and supporters enter Waterville Town Square Sunday night in the Parade of Athletes during the opening ceremonies for the 38th annual Special Olympics New Hampshire Winter Games. (JOHN KOZIOL)

Waterville Valley

38th annual Special Olympics: Let the games begin


Competitors, coaches and supporters enter Waterville Town Square Sunday night in the Parade of Athletes during the opening ceremonies for the New Hampshire Winter Special Olympics (JOHN KOZIOL)

WATERVILLE VALLEY — Despite a glitch that prevented the lighting of the ceremonial flame, the 38th annual Special Olympics New Hampshire Winter Games are under way here with a record-number of registered competitors in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing.

The flame for the 38th annual Special Olympics New Hampshire Winter Games arrives in Waterville Town Square via snowmobile. (JOHN KOZIOL)

The opening ceremonies were held in Town Square on Sunday night with competition beginning Monday morning and concluding this afternoon.

"Everything has been great; it's just very cold," said Carrie Hill, who is the SONH's director of development and who spoke Monday afternoon from the Waterville Valley Resort where the alpine events are taking place.

Hill acknowledged that the Olympic cauldron didn't get lit. The flame arrived via snowmobile and despite the best efforts of John Beers, of the Connecticut River Valley Team and Global Messenger, it would not ignite the cauldron.

"It was frozen inside," she said of the vessel, which is located in Town Square.

"Unfortunately, the weather did not help us last night," she said.

Nonetheless, Hill expected two days of "wonderful competition." Hill thanked the many volunteers who are helping make the 38th winter games a success, foremost among them the members of the New Hampshire Law Enforcement Torch Run.Tilton Police Chief Bob Cormier, who is director of the torch run, told the hundreds of athletes, family members, friends and well-wishers who gathered in Town Square Sunday that some 40 peace officers, representing agencies from the mountains to the Seacoast and all points in between, had come to Waterville Valley.

Cormier declared the games open and at his command, some two-dozen emergency vehicles that were lined up beyond Town Square turned on their flashing lights and sirens; later, a New Hampshire State Police helicopter flew overhead, and when it had left the area, the sky over Town Square was filled for nearly half an hour with a fireworks display.

jkoziol@newstote.com

        

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