Huntington High School’s Liam Mrotzek is headed to the Special Olympic World Winter Games in Austria.
This month’s competition will be the largest World Winter Games in the history of Special Olympics with about 2,700 athletes from 107 nations across the globe participating.
Mr. Mrotzek is set to depart New York City for Washington DC next Sunday. The US team will then fly to Europe together the following day.
The Blue Devil Special Olympian will compete on five separate days with preliminaries in the 200m snowshoe dash on March 18; preliminaries in the 400m snowshoe dash on March 20; finals in the 200m snowshoe dash on March 21; preliminaries and finals in the 4x400m snowshoe relay on March 22 and the finals in the 400m snowshoe dash on March 24.
Liam Arthur Mrotzek will compete in the Special Olympics Winter World Games.
Mr. Mrotzek will compete in a venue located in the city of Ramsau, Austria. ESPN will be broadcasting the opening ceremonies on Saturday, March 18. There will be up to one hour of daily updates and interest stories on athletes and coaches throughout the competition.
“Special Olympics reflects all the very best aspects of sports; its power to inspire, forge bonds, build confidence and impact lives,” said Russell Wolff, executive vice president and managing director of ESPN International. “As storytellers and sports lovers, the World Winter Games represents an incredible opportunity for ESPN to showcase amazing stories of perseverance, strength, acceptance and inclusion to a global audience. These are remarkable athletes and we’re extraordinarily excited to tell their stories around the world.”
Mr. Mrotzek is one of 28 US snowshoe team members. A Special Olympian for the past five years, he is among the 12 youngest men competing in the World Winter Games.
The Huntington High School athlete attended four days of closed practices for US team members in Killington, Vermont last December. He’s also been working out with his Blue Devil teammates, who have been helping him prep for the world competition.
“Liam is so excited to represent his country at the Winter World Games in Austria,” said Dr. Erica Murphy-Jessen, a veteran Huntington High School teacher. “Liam is a great student who is always kind and helpful to is peers.”
The Blue Devil team has made a name for itself in recent years with individual athletes capturing dozens of gold, silver and bronze medals. The squad is coached by Linda Costello-Roth. Huntington’s John Cronin was tapped as an alternate on the US World Winter Games team, but he won’t be traveling to Austria.
Mr. Mrotzek said that while he’s “nervous about racing over there” he is “looking forward to going.”
“Liam’s classmates are very excited and supportive of his efforts,” teacher Trish Klee said. “We wish him the best of luck and we are so proud of him.”
To learn more about the competition or to track the results, visit http://www.austria2017.org/en/.