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Indianapolis skier looks to punch ticket to Special Olympics World Winter Games

Skier looks to get to Special Olympics World Winter Games

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Hoosier Special Olympics athlete is hoping to make his way to the World Winter Games in Torino, Italy, next year.

Tomas Sliva is set to compete at the U.S. Team Trials in Park City, Utah, this weekend.

The Indianapolis native is an alpine skier and has been hitting the slopes since he was 10 years old.

Now 33, he says he still feels like he’s flying when he skis.

“I like to ski,” Sliva said. “It’s fun.”

It’s been a long journey for him. The athlete, who has Down Syndrome, originally qualified for the 2021 games in Sweden, but he never got to compete.

Due to some logistical problems with the original host cities and the COVID-19 pandemic, the games were delayed to 2022 and moved to Kazan, Russia. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the games were outright canceled.

Sliva now looks to potentially compete in his first World Games.

“I’m going to be excited to have my family with me,” Silva said.

He will be making the trip to the trials with his longtime coach Duncan Myers, who will also be representing Team USA as an assistant coach.

“Now, to see him get to this level, and get to actually go to the World Games, kind of shows off to the world what he can do,” ” Myers said. “I think he’s excited about that. And I’m excited about that for him.”

They met while Myers was an instructor at Paoli Peaks in southern Indiana. Myers says Sliva is a true competitor, always looking to get better.

“He was a really good student,” Myers said. “I worked on him with his turns…and I got him to do the things that did not slow him down and made him go faster, and gave him a little more courage.”

When Sliva’s not on the slopes, he also competes in a slew of other Special Olympics sports like soccer, swimming and bowling.

He says he always looks forward to trying new food and meeting new faces.

“I’m gonna [meet] new friends, and they’ll know me better,” Sliva said.

According to Myers, most of the athletes invited to the trials will qualify for the Winter Games.

Over the next two days, Sliva will go through several evaluations to determine which divisions he could potentially compete in if he makes the trip to Italy.