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Paralympics Will Take Development Coordinator Back to Her Roots

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
January 27, 2010

Keely Ames in her official U.S. Olympics uniform.

Keely Ames may not be going to the 2010 Paralympics as an athlete but she’s going as the next best thing: a press officer who gets to report on the accomplishments of the athletes, some of whom she has worked with in her job as development coordinator for UNH’s Northeast Passage.

The X Paralympic Winter Games, an international competition for elite athletes with physical disabilities, take place in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, March 12 to March 21 in the same venues the XXI Olympics athletes will have used two weeks prior.

Ames has been assigned to cover alpine skiing, the largest of the Paralympic teams. She will report the race results and write stories about the athletes, including UNH alums and alpine skiers Tyler Walker and Laurie Stephens. Taylor Chace, a UNH senior who won a bronze medal for the U.S. in 2006, is on the sled hockey team.

“I’m definitely going to have to brush up on my alpine skiing lingo,” says Ames, adding, “I feel really honored to be going. And I’m looking forward to getting to know the other athletes.”

And she’ll be able to do that more easily because she is staying with them in the athletes’ village in Whistler. During the two weeks, competitors from around the world will vie for medals in alpine skiing, wheelchair curling, biathlon, cross-country skiing or sledge (sled) hockey.

In December, Ames went to Colorado Springs for two days of training. She’ll arrive in Whistler a week before the athletes for additional instruction.

“I’m really excited. This is such a great opportunity and I feel very fortunate to be going,” Ames says. “And it’s taking me back to my roots—I was a journalism major—so that’s going to be fun.”

The first organized event for athletes with disabilities was held in England in 1948 for veterans of World War II who had spinal cord injuries. Today, participation in the Paralympics has grown from 400 athletes from 23 countries in 1960 to 3,951 athletes from 146 countries in the 2008 games.

Northeast Passage, a program of UNH’s School of Health and Human Service and an affiliate of Disabled Sports USA, develops and delivers innovative, barrier-free recreation and health promotion programs. Northeast Passage is also a Paralympic athlete development center and offers student-athletes the opportunity to train and attend UNH.


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