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      Special Olympians take main stage

      The 26th Annual Special Olympic Winter Games are happening this Friday and Saturday in Marquette.

      It kicks off Friday afternoon with the down hill ski competition at Marquette Mountain and a social dance in the evening at the Holiday Inn. The opening ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Superior Dome. They'll have a parade with the Knights of Columbus, NMU sports teams, ROTC, and participants.

      "One thing great about the Special Olympics' movement or program is the fact that these athletes are treated just as any athletes in any other sports would be. Coaches have to be trained and certified, the athletes have to train, attend a number of practice sessions, and the competition is the important aspect of the Special Olympic program," said Special Olympic Opening Ceremony Coordinator Sean O'Donnell.

      Saturday after the ceremony, they'll have the cross country skiing and snowshoeing competition. For those athletes who can't be outdoors, there's also a physical fitness competition indoors. Public support is welcomed.