Justin Elliott

Athlete • Watertown, SD • Alpine Skiing

Justin Elliott, 20, is a Special Olympics South Dakota athlete attending the 2017 World Winter Games competing in alpine skiing.

Elliott has been involved with Special Olympics for five years, also competing in basketball, softball, track and field, swimming, bowling and soccer. Despite playing all of those other sports, Elliott said alpine skiing is still his favorite.

“It’s just more of a challenge,” he said. “All slopes are different and balancing on skis is more fun than just running.”

This is his first World Games experience and he said he’s looking forward to the challenges ahead more than anything else.

“It means a new opportunity to prove myself to myself,” Elliott said. “It’s another challenge that I can try to overcome. I always challenge myself and this is a great way to do it.

“I want to meet new people and just try skiing on a different slope than I’m used to.”

When he’s not training, Elliott works at a local grocery store bagging groceries and taking them to peoples’ cars. He also enjoys spending time with family and playing board games such as Clue.

To Elliott, Special Olympics is all about acceptance.

“When I joined Special Olympics, everybody accepted me,” he said. “I’m more popular in Special Olympics South Dakota than I have ever been.

“It gives me more opportunities to be independent and have more friends and fit in.”

While training for World Games, Elliott won three gold medals at North Dakota's Winter Games in the Black Hills.

"I can't wait (to get to Austria)," Elliott said in an interview with the Watertown Public Opinion. "I am really looking forward to all the new experiences, challenges and palce I will be seeing. I think I am gaining more independence."

Elliot went on to say, "I want to see how I can do skiing and am looking forward to representing my community and state. But I really think it might be interesting to make some new friends and see a different country."


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