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Henry resident heads to 2013 Special Olympics winter games
by Nneka Okona
January 29, 2013 12:43 PM | 1760 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye <br>
From left, Marnie Hornsby receives a hug from one of her best friends, Brooke Wright, during her going away party Tuesday night.
Staff / Katherine Frye
From left, Marnie Hornsby receives a hug from one of her best friends, Brooke Wright, during her going away party Tuesday night.
Marnie Hornsby, a longtime volunteer for the Henry County Special Olympics, found out some exciting news last April that is finally coming to fruition — she is participating in the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Hornsby will be one of 3,300 athletes that represent 112 countries in South Korea Jan. 29 to Feb. 5.

She is also one of three Special Olympics athletes to represent the state of Georgia.

Hornsby will compete in the category of alpine skiing, an activity that she says she grew to love organically.

“I think it was 2008 or 2009 when I started,” she said. “The first year I got on a bunny hill. The next year I was on a higher hill and the next year on a green hill. I caught on very quickly.”

There are a combination of factors that contribute to Hornsby enjoying what she describes as “exhilarating,” including the feel of the cold air whipping past her face as she moves and being in the company of the snow in general.

“I like being out there in the snow,” Hornsby said. “I can’t explain it. It’s just exciting to me.”

To sufficiently train for the winter games, Hornsby was sent to New York for a week of hard core conditioning.

Aside from going to New York, she watched her food intake and exercised minimally, since she could only do so much in McDonough, far away from an area with plenty of snow and slopes.

Hornsby’s participation in the Special Olympics is a first, but being an athlete in the games presents another first for her — traveling internationally.

“I’m 39 and I’ve never been out of the country in my entire life,” she said. “I’m really excited.”

Henry County Parks and Recreation hosted a send-off celebration for Hornsby on Jan. 22.

On the eve of the celebration, Hornsby said she was most grateful for the support.

“I’m so grateful for my parents,” she said. “Everyday I thank them. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. I’m also thankful for my Special Olympic coaches. They were always pushing me to do more and telling me that I could do it. I’m ready.”

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