• Two local athletes will go to Special Olympics

    The games are scheduled to begin Jan. 29 in South Korea
  • Two athletes from Jackson County will compete in the Special Olympics World Games this month in PyeongChang, South Korea.
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  • Two athletes from Jackson County will compete in the Special Olympics World Games this month in PyeongChang, South Korea.
    Chelsea Webb, a 23-year-old cross-country skier, will head to South Korea along with Julieanne Taylor, a Medford snowboarder featured in a Mail Tribune story on Tuesday.
    Webb is one of 27 cross-country skiers from around the country to make the U.S. team.
    "I love snow and everything about the weather," said Webb, who lives in Medford.
    Participating in the Special Olympics since she was 5, Webb has played golf, gymnastics and bocce ball, but said that cross-country always has been her favorite.
    She practices weekly at Mount Shasta each winter with a small cross-country team from around Jackson County, according to her father, Jon Webb.
    Born developmentally disabled, Chelsea Webb is high-functioning, according to her father, and excelled at the sport physically.
    Webb and her mother, Deanne, go on a three-mile walk each morning with ski poles in hand as practice, and she trains at the gym weekly.
    "She's just so sweet — everybody loves her in the neighborhood," her mother says. "She's bubbly and like a happy, little 8-year-old. ... She's just a sweet, good kid."
    Now in her fourth year of cross-country skiing, Webb took a gold medal in a competition last year, earning her an invitation to the World Games, which kick off Jan. 29.
    Webb flew on a plane for her first time in December to Lake Placid, N.Y., to meet and train with her Team USA teammates.
    The quick trip also was the longest time she had been away from her parents, who will not accompany her on the two-week trip to South Korea.
    "We're a little nervous, but she's a good kid, and we feel pretty comfortable about it," said Jon Webb.
    Chelsea Webb is one of five athletes and three coaches selected by the Special Olympics to represent Oregon at the World Games.
    Other athletes from Oregon include a cross-country skier and an alpine skier from Bend and a snowboarder from Portland.
    Athletes from the Rogue Valley have competed in the World Games before but not in at least four years, according to Marie Cabler, Jackson County Special Olympics local program coordinator.
    Cabler said golfers from the area went to the World Games in China in 2007.
    Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or tristow@mailtribune.com.
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