HEALTH

Area woman to compete in Special Olympics

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A young athlete is going for the gold. Along with 7,500 fellow athletes, 21-year-old Rose Pleskow will compete at the Special Olympics World Games next week.

For more than 16 years she has been running. “I love that feeling,” she said.

Now her athletic passion is taking her thousands of miles away to be one of nine Virginians competing in the Special Olympics in Athens, Greece.

“When I found out I was so excited because it's always been my families dream to go to Europe …. I really need to train hard and go to Greece,” Pleskow said.

Training means running five times a week for two hours, especially grueling during the winter.

“I think physically, mentally and emotionally it's going to be quite an experience. She's ready so I'm hoping she goes over there and has a good time,” said her coach Susan Hefler.

Pleskow is a graduate of South Lakes high school, has competed in the Virginia Special Olympics and participated in its torch run. This will be her first major competition. She'll be running in three separate track and field events.

“I think it's going to be a very hard competition because these people who got selected are very good,” she said.

Her parents say this is an opportunity for a young woman who has faced challenges all her life.

“Special Olympics is not all that much about the physical (aspect) ...It really gives the kids an avenue to express themselves to feel part of something bigger--to be supported,” said her mother Susan Pleskow.

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