Blacksburg athlete grabs gold at Special Olympics
Blacksburg Special Olympian Ben Norris recently returned to the United States to a hero’s welcome, weighing a little more than he did when he left for South Korea about two weeks earlier.
That’s because the 2010 Blacksburg High School graduate stepped off the plane with a gold medal hanging from his neck, which he won for his 49-second time in the Super Giant Slalom at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, earlier this month.
During his 13-day stay in South Korea, Norris and his Team USA teammates visited two schools, a folk life village and the U.S. military base, according to Norris’ mom, B.J. Norris.
The athletes met with several Korean dignitaries and were honored at a reception sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The athletes were true Special Olympics and United States ambassadors, Norris wrote in an email.
After competing at Special Olympics World Winter Games, Ben Norris returned with a gold medal and two seventh-place finishes in Super Giant Slalom, Slalom and Giant Slalom, respectively.
When Ben Norris returned to Blacksburg, his employer at Virginia Tech Dining Services welcomed him with a celebration and congratulatory message that flashed across the message boards throughout the dining center for the entire week.
Ben Norris was recognized at the Special Olympics regional basketball tournament held at Cassell Coliseum Sunday and, with his twin brother Josh, lit the torch.
He was also recognized by the Virginia Tech Police Department Wednesday with a plaque presentation.
Ben Norris’ trip will be memorable for many reasons, and B.J. Norris said she’s asked him several times what he enjoyed most about his Special Olympic experience.
He was fascinated by the Korean culture and enjoyed visiting the folk life village, B.J. Norris wrote.
Korean organizers did an outstanding job showcasing their country, its history and its opportunities, she added.
The Roanoke Times | 381-8627
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