Biggin Hill skier to take on the world at Special Olympics in South Korea
By kentsussex | Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 10:33
Seven top skiers - including Wayne McCarthy of Biggin Hill - have been chosen to represent their country at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in South Korea.
World Winter Games
The competition will take place in PyeongChang from January 26 to February 6.
Wayne, 31, loves to ski and has been involved in the sport for over 20 years, having first learned to ski from his father, who gave him lessons as a young child.
Over the years, Wayne has won 5 trophies from the Seefeld Ski School in Austria, and his father, Harry McCarthy, adds: "We try to ensure he skis on snow at least once a year because he loves it so much!"
Since joining the Special Olympics Great Britain in 2009, Wayne has trained hard to improve his performance at the competition level, culminating in three Gold medals at the National Alpine Ski Competition in Pila, Italy in January 2012.
Wayne said: "Special Olympics means a lot to me because I love socialising with people, and being part of a team. I feel like a winner with Special Olympics and it makes me feel good about myself."
In addition to alpine skiing, Wayne also enjoys keeping active through judo, football, and swimming.
He is a member of the Biggin Hill Judo Club, and has earned his blue belt as well as several awards for his martial arts accomplishments, including the Ken Williams Shield for the Student of the Year in 2005.
In 2007, Wayne was the first club recipient of the prestigious Jack Petchey Endeavour Award, an award voted on by his peers in recognition of his effort and exceptional achievement in his martial arts studies.
When he is not participating in various sports, Wayne enjoys socialising with his friends and taking his dog for walks.
Wayne also loves DJ'ing and hopes to DJ on the radio in the future.
He works at the local Marks and Spencers and has recently joined his local leisure centre after being gifted a membership by MyTime Bromley, which he hopes will enable him to prepare aerobically for his World Winter Games 2013 appearance in PyeongChang.
This is in addition to his weekly training at the Bromley Ski Centre.
Wayne's parents will be travelling to South Korea in January to support him and cheer on the GB team.
His mother Annette commented: "We are so delighted our son has been selected to ski for Great Britain, as he has trained extremely hard to get to this level.
"Special Olympics has changed his life, as it has allowed him to meet lots of new people and provided Wayne with many opportunities to improve his skiing. We are very proud of him and know he will do his best in South Korea".
The athletes were chosen from 73 skiers with intellectual (learning) disabilities who qualified at Special Olympics Great Britain's National Alpine Ski Championships in Pila, Italy, earlier this year.
Over 100 nations will participate in the event in South Korea, with 2,800 athletes with intellectual disabilities taking part.
Special Olympics Great Britain is delighted to confirm the following skiers will be part of their GB team:
Wayne McCarthy (31) of Biggin Hill
Jane Andrews (35) of Tunbridge Wells
Mikael Undrom (25) of Cobham
Elizabeth Allen (18) of Llanelli
Luke Purdie (18) of Aberdeen
Clare Lines (28) of Redditch
Robert Holden (21) of R o ss endale
Five time Olympic skier and eight-time British Champion, Graham Bell, who joined the Special Olympics GB team in qualifying, commented: "I was really impressed by everyone's determination in the Special Olympics GB team to try their hardest.
"Chemmy Alcott would be surprised how many of them used her as motivation!
"I watched most of the Special Olympics athletes and had a chance to ski with a couple of the groups.
"One young racer told me that she had constructed a whole fantasy world where she got to ski as a Bond Girl and that me skiing with her was like living her fantasy.
"Very humbling indeed. The snow conditions in Pila were perfect. Cold, dry and grippy that did not rut-up at all for the racers. So we had a fair track for all the starters."
Graham, who presents Ski Sunday and High Altitude, has also been a Special Olympics GB Ambassador since 2009. Bell flew in to Pila to inspire, and be inspired, by the athletes.
Chemmy Alcott, Olympic and six-time British National Champion Skier, said: "I never got into the sport to inspire people but it is a fantastic reward for all the hard work I have put in.
"I don't want fellow racers to desire to be as good as me. I want them to push themselves to be the best in the World.
"It is so great to see our Special Olympics GB skiers doing so well! And those chosen for the World Winter Games, representing your country is one of the biggest honours so massive congratulations from me to the whole team."
Special Olympics GB CEO Karen Wallin said "I would like to wish our seven skiers the very best of luck who will be representing Great Britain in South Korea at the World Winter Games later this month.
"The year-round sports coaching and events provided by Special Olympics in Great Britain is clinically proven to positively change the quality of lives of our athletes.
"Almost 1.2 million people in Great Britain (2% of the population) have an intellectual disability."
Recent research from Canterbury Christchurch University shows that those who did participate in Special Olympics had a higher self-esteem than those who did not take part.
Higher self-esteem leads to more feelings of self-worth and more self-care.
Findings also concluded that those involved in Special Olympics had wider social networks and lower stress levels.