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Idaho’s athletes have trained for a long time to get ready for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. This week, meet four Treasure Valley athletes and the Caldwell Wildcats floor hockey team in the Idaho Statesman.

Josh Ortega, 29, is a fast, confident snowboarder who cannot imagine life without the Special Olympics.

“That’s a hard thing to think about,” he said.

His mother, Judy Ortega, has volunteered and coached since the mid-1970s. His brothers, Bryan Fowers, 39, and Tony Ortega, 26, both competed in the Special Olympics.

He played sports growing up in Oregon, but he felt like an outsider…  More info

ny-snowboard-eventIn a winter in which stock prices and temperatures have plunged, a scene on the Lower East Side of Manhattan defies the notion of scaling back in bad times.

Over the last three weeks, a massive snowboard ramp has risen in East River Park, in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge. Nine stories tall and 150 yards long, it required more than 100 workers to build, and it has lured 16 of the world’s top professional snowboarders to compete in Thursday’s Red Bull Snowscrapers, billed as the largest urban snowboard event in North America.

Riders, including the 2006 Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Shaun White, Travis Rice, and Terje Haakonsen…  More info

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