Steamboat Springs If you were looking for proof of just how important last weekend's Special Olympic Regionals were, all you have to do is watch Kelly Chambers' face.
His eyes exploded with excitement as he described how he won a gold medal and two silver medals in weightlifting events that were held in Craig May 12.
Chambers was one of several Steamboat Springs athletes who took part in the regional event, which included swimming, weight lifting and track and field events.
Athletes are rewarded for participation with an invitation to the Special Olympic Summer Games, which will be held in Denver in June and gold, silver and bronze medals from last weekend's events.
Chambers, a Steamboat Springs High School student, took a gold medal in push-ups completing 28 in a minute. He also took a silver in the bench press and a second in the dead lift.
It was the first time Chambers has taken part in the Special Olympic event, which has been held in Craig for a number of years. He said he was inspired by Sailors football coach Mark Drake and his sixth-hour weightlifting class at the high school.
"I did well in my bench press," Chambers said.
He had been practicing since January for the event. Drake suggested that Chambers try competing in the Special Olympic events and the other students in his weightlifting class offered a lot of support.
Horizons had 16 athletes take part in the event who brought home 23 gold medals.
Athletes competing included Debbie Linthicum, Myles Barber, Tim McClenathan, Joe Arnold, Jeff Dockstader, Jesse Rudnick, Sue White, Lizzy Gibbs, Aimee Edgerley, Keith Fortune, Alyessa Yeagher, Marcella Chavez, Leann Stauffer, Dick Yowell, Rick Rapalee and Wendy Maldonado.
Horizons will have five athletes and two coaches attend the state meet, which will be held June 1 and 2.
Chambers will not travel to the state meet this year but is hoping to take part in some other events this summer.