BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Beth Meyer, a Special Olympian and Bittersweet Farms resident, continues to add medals to her collections every year, this time with two gold medals for the 2023 Winter Games for Indiana and Ohio.
More than 100 athletes from the two states came together in Lawrenceburg, Ind., to compete at Perfect North Slopes.
Meyer competed and received gold medals in both unified slalom and unified giant slalom.
“Unified means you have a regular athlete and a special Olympic athlete do the same course and they combine their scores,” Meyer explained.
Gino Chiapetta, who helped arrange and donate funds for Meyer to practice her skills and attend the event, was also the one who skied with her.
Meyer said Chiappetta and his colleagues have been very helpful in getting her the practice she needs. She also credited The Boyne Ski School, Michigan Alpine Competition Council and Toledo Ski Club for helping her train at Boyne Mountain Resort.
“We go up to Boyne Mountain to do the training. Usually, I spend a week there, but mother nature didn’t play nice with us this year,” Meyer said.
Slalom requires the athletes to ski through gates set a certain distance apart while going downhill. The distance between the gates varies for slalom and giant slalom.
“It’s all in the gates,” Meyer said. “You weave through the gates and the weaving is just different the further apart they are.”
While she didn’t have the opportunity to practice as long as she would have liked this year, Meyer has been able to find other ways to prepare through her job at Bittersweet. She said her time spent splitting and moving firewood keeps her in shape and ready to move quickly.
Based in Whitehouse, Bittersweet Farms is a farmstead program for adults and adolescents with autism based in Whitehouse that provides partnership, daily activity and support.
All the time spent practicing and preparing for the sport on and off the job has been worth it, too, but not just for the medals. Meyer enjoys skiing – it’s one of two sports she regularly competes in, with swimming being the other.
“I like them both, but skiing maybe just a bit more,” Meyer said.
She’s been skiing for years and has loved every second of it, she said.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always loved flying down the slide. I like speed,” Meyer said, noting the speed is part of what makes it fun for her.
Something else she likes about the experience is the chance to participate in the Special Olympics – a cause she says is important to bring attention to.
“(Eunice Kennedy Shriver) started a movement, and I’ve just helped continue the movement over the years,” Meyer said.
The movement has allowed her the opportunity to participate in competitions she enjoys, make more friends and become even better at both skiing and swimming.