Special Olympians coming home with lots of hardware

Special Olympians coming home with lots of hardware

Newfoundland and Labrador's Special Olympians are heading home with a pile of medals in tow.

The province's four athletes each won a medal at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria this week.

Sandra Smith, Justin Dodge, Crystal Young and Floressa Harris each spoke to CBC News from their Team Canada bus, on their way to the closing ceremony of the event on Friday.

Young said she was feeling "excellent" following her events. She won two gold medals in the games. 

Each of the four Newfoundland and Labrador athletes competed in snowshoeing events. Dodge won a gold medal in the 4x100 relay , Smith won two golds and a silver and Harris took home two silvers and a bronze.

Rachel Matthews, Team Canada's coach at the games, said each of the athletes have worked a long time to get to this stage.

'They got themselves on to the team by doing well at their national games, and in the past year they've been training a minimum of three or four times a week," she explained. "And many of them are training six times a week."

"They're at the gym, or they're out running, or they're on their snowshoes … anything they can do to make themselves strong and fit and ready for this."

Matthews said the games are big moments for the athletes.

"I think they grow as people a great deal, and they realize that if you work really, really hard, something happens, and it's something exciting," she said.

"I'll tell you, every time one of these medals happens, I see a whole lot of excitement and a whole lot of self confidence. It's great, I love it."