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      Athletes gear up for Special Olympics

      While the Olympics in Sochi have come to a close, the Special Olympics in the Upper Peninsula are just getting started.

      â??Iâ??m looking forward to this year; Iâ??m really fired up for it,â?? said basketball player, Jeff Kososki.

      Heâ??s been involved in the Special Olympics basketball tournaments for 33 years and isn't stopping anytime soon.

      "I like playing as a team and working with all the people,â?? Kososki said.

      The teams that practiced here in the Norway-Vulcan Area Schools gymnasium are all a part of Area #38 in the Regional Special Olympics; they include 39 athletes from Dickinson and Iron counties. The regional competition takes place Friday, February 28 for basketball, but coordinators are also getting ready for other sports.

      â??We do snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in January,â?? said coordinator, Laura Doney. â??Then we have the basketball, and then we'll start swimming after the basketball competition is done.â??

      This competition is Katie Petersonâ??s second year in the Escanaba tournament.

      â??I love basketball, it's just my favorite thing,â?? Peterson said. â??I did so good last year that everybody was proud of me.â??

      Everyone, including her coaches Rachel and Shane Visintainer.

      â??I just love them,â?? Peterson said.

      The event is Friday and Saturday at the Escanaba High School. Opening ceremonies are on Friday evening with all-day competitions on Saturday.