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Gail Anderson represented Kalispell Krushers at Special Olympics World Winter Games team trials

Kalispell Krushers
Posted at 11:24 AM, May 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 13:24:48-04

KALISPELL — Special Olympics Montana continues to grow with more and more impressive athletes each year, and one Kalispell athlete, Gail Anderson, recently had the opportunity to compete in the Special Olympics World Winter Games team trials in Salt Lake City.

"It's meant a lot to me," said Anderson. "Just trying to not be bored, but with having fun with this team, they've made it possible for me."

Anderson has been competing in Special Olympics for 29 years, and one of her head coaches, Devin Slater, knows how great it is to have an athlete like her on the Kalispell Krushers Adult Team and competing for the Special Olympics USA roster primarily as a runner.

"It's awesome. It's awesome for Gail to get to go up to see that up to higher levels," said Slater. "Because with all the Special Olympics, the more people the better the competition is, so it's gonna be able for Gail to even push herself even harder in those events which is awesome for her."

"And it's great for us locally to have an athlete that's going to be competing, and it's awesome, just great."

Anderson competes in everything, from snowshoeing in the winter to running in the spring, but above all her favorite thing is spending time practicing with her teammates.

"Just having fun, trying to go out and beating the boys," said Anderson with a laugh. "Enjoying myself, enjoying the peace and quiet, and they make it fun."

Slater has been involved with Special Olympics for 18 years has seen the programs grow exponentially during his time, and sees that trend only continuing.

"I think it's going to just keep growing. That's kind of what's happening in our areas, we're getting a lot more athletes, a lot more participation," said Slater. "So I just expect that to continue to happen."

As for what unites Anderson and her teammates, they all live by one team motto.

"It goes, ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,'" said Anderson.

Looking ahead, Anderson is hoping to represent team USA in Torino, Italy, at the 2025 Special Olympics World Winter Games.