Athletes with intellectual disabilities from around the world are in the final stages of practice. Some are preparing for long plane flights and perhaps readying to see snow for the first time. But come February 7, about 2,400 will convene in Boise, Idaho to compete in the largest ever winter sporting event — the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

The event will feature sports ranging from snowboarding and figure skating to floor hockey and snowshoeing. Athletes will join together from 107 nations, with some traveling from as far away as China, Russia and Egypt.

And this time the games aren’t just about the athletes with disabilities. Many teams are “unified” meaning that some teammates have disabilities and some do not. Those without disabilities are dubbed “partners.” The idea is that just as in life, the goal is for people with disabilities and those without to work together, reports Parade Magazine. To read more click here.

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