Thursday, January 31, 2013

4th Place Finish in Giant Slalom

Thursday, January 31st

Brandon's Giant Slalom competion was today. Beautiful, sunny 40 degrees. His times were very consistent and he finished 4th out of 8 snowboarders in his division.

I finally figured out how to add pictures to this blog. I borrowed Brandon's tablet and so I'm learning as I go. I will add pics to the previous posts today as well.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Athlete Assessments

Wednesday, January 30th

Team USA snowboard assessments were today. Brandon's times were  56.19 and 58.14 seconds. That put him in he intermediate class.

We checked out the cultural center and some really neat artwork. We also bought tons of souvenirs.

I'm having a hard time with the internet connection here at our hotel, so I can't upload pictures today. I will add them as soon as I can!

Here's the link to the video of Opening Ceremonies:
Opening Ceremonies

Opening Ceremonies

Tuesday, January 29th

Breakfast buffet included scrambled eggs, hot dogs, salad bar, and lots of pastries. We caught a cab at 11:00 to Alpensia resort since the shuttle didn't run until 2:00. It's about a 40 minute ride. We saw Brandon right away and he ran to us. But he didn't have time to hang with us. We shopped a little at the resort and then caught the shuttle to Opening Ceremonies. Wow, there were so many shuttle busses! At least 60 I'm guessing. Opening Ceremonies was AWESOME! Check out the pics on Team USA's Flickr site. Their pics are way better than the ones we took.
Team USA Photos

After the ceremonies they hearded us like cattle back onto the shuttle busses. Our bus was the last to leave and when we got to Alpensia most of he shuttles to he hotels had left. We wandered around for about half an hour looking for our bus. Turns out it was right by where we were dropped off!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Travelling to PyeongChang

Yesterday was Monday. Our hotel offered toast and coffee but we had to make the toast ourselves. That was the most fun I've ever had making toast!

After breakfast we caught the shuttle back to the airport to meet the shuttle to PyeongChang. We went early so we could shop an get lunch before the shuttle. Since the toast didn't really fill us up, we decided to eat lunch first. Our lunches were beautiful and delicious and only cost about $9.50. Huge spoons.

After lunch we ended up not having time to shop which sucks cuz the Incheon airport is gorgeous and huge and has so many cool stores. We boarded our bus for the 3 1/2 hour drive. We stopped at a unique rest area half way here. Wow I don't have any words to descripe the "toilet"....its a porcelin hole in he ground. Yummy food vendors at the rest stop made it worthwhile, though.

The bus ride was a blast. We visited with families of athletes from Illinois, Washington, North Carolina, Canada, Greece, Norway, and Belgium. It was awesome hearing  their stories and telling Brandon's story. We arrived at our hotel at about 7:30. Good news is we have an 8th floor room with an incredible view of the slopes all lit up. Bad news is we have an 8th floor room and I don't like elevators. We hung out with our new friends the rest of the evening.

Monday, January 28, 2013

We're Here!

We have arrived safely in Seoul.  Our flight from Boise to San Francisco was uneventful. We had a 4 four layover in San Francisco and then our flight to Seoul was funny. Before we even took off some dude tried to stuff a very large bag in the overhead bin and he just kept shoving it in there until snap! He broke it. That delayed takeoff cuz they had to call maintenance.

Then the aiplane's chiller needed a fuse so they called maintenance again. We finally took off and he rest of the flight went well. We met several other athlete families on he plane. United Airlines was great. They let us get up and walk around on he plane.

We arrived at he Incheon airport in Seoul at 4:30. We went through immigration and customs. Then we rented a cell phone. Its much too expensive to use our smartphones here. Then we went to the World Games welcome desk to pick up our credentials. This all took about 2 1/2 hours. By the way, we hadn't slept yet. We tried to sleep on the plane but it just didn't happen. By he time our shuttle to the hotel got us there, it was 7:30.


Dinner was an adventure. There are about 2 dozen resaurants within walking distance of he hotel. But they were all in Korean. So we just walked into one that smelled good from he sidewalk. Thank goodness the6 had an english menu. We just pointed to what looked good. It was delicious.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


It's official...all Team USA athletes arrived safely in Seoul.  Pam and I are sitting in the San Francisco airport waiting for our connecting flight to Seoul in 3 hours.  It's gonna be a long day.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Brandon, Andrea and Jerry at the Boise airport this morning,
ready for their big adventure!

Their flight was supposed to leave at 8:00 this morning for Los Angeles but Boise had this crazy ice storm last night and the flight was delayed 3 hours.  They did finally make it to LA to enjoy a Team USA send-off party.

Hopefully Brandon took lots of pictures that I can post here.  Only 4 days until opening ceremonies!

On to Korea tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Amazing Links

Here is a promotional video for the World Games.  I have watched it a dozen times and it still makes me tear up….

This is a link to the weather forecast in PyeongChang:

Team USA posts all photos on this Flickr page:

Official Team USA website:

Official 2013 World Winter Games website.  This is where you can find sport schedules and check results from competitions:

Here’s the best link of them all….stories about the athletes.  Brandon’s story is published here as well:
Brandon’s story is called “Full Circle” posted on January 22nd.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Special Olympics Team USA Fact Sheet

Team USA – 152 athletes and 61 volunteer coaches/staff members

Where: PyeongChang and Gangneung, Republic of Korea, site of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Special Olympics Team USA Sports: Alpine Skiing (43 athletes), Cross Country Skiing (27 athletes), Snowboarding (9 athletes), Snowshoeing (17 athletes), Speed Skating (11 athletes), Figure Skating (11 athletes), Floor Hockey (24 athletes and 10 unified partners) and Floor Ball demonstration.

“Every two years, the world transcends the boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, culture and religion to come together for the Special Olympics World Games. Alternating between summer and winter Games, this event is the flagship event of the Special Olympics movement, which promotes equality, tolerance and acceptance around the world. This prominent world stage brings attention to the Special Olympics movement and helps create positive, sometimes lifesaving policy change for people with intellectual disabilities in countries around the world. More than 4 million Special Olympics athletes train and compete in more than 170 nations across the globe.

More than 2,400 athletes from more than 110 nations compete in seven Olympic-type sports: alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, short track speed skating, figure skating, floor hockey and the demonstration of floor ball.  More than 15,000 family, friends, volunteers and spectators are also expected to attend.”

Monday, January 21, 2013

Packing Day

Brandon leaves for his adventure in just 3 days, and Pam and I leave on Saturday!  Today we are packing, packing, packing.  Brandon's flight leaves at 8:00 am on Thursday.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Official Emblem of the 2013 World Games

This is the official emblem of the 2013 World Games.

“The official emblem of the 2013 PyeongChang Special Olympics is an abstract figure of a running person, which represents passion and joy. It uses four different colors, in which each different color has unique meaning:  yellow indicates hope and happiness, pink represents love and passion, green embodies trust and clean energy, and blue indicates a positive vision for the future.  The official emblem therefore represents people coming together with passion and wishing for the success of the 2013 Special Olympics.”

Friday, January 18, 2013


These are the cute little mascots for the World Games.
Ra     (blue bear)
In      (red sheep)
Bow   (green sheepdog)

“These animals are the natural treasures of the Gangwon province, delivering passion and courage to people with and without intellectual disabilities throughout their journey toward the 2013 PyeongChang Special Olympics World Winter Games.”

I can’t wait to buy the stuffed critters when I get to the Games!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2009 World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho

Four years ago, the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games were held right here in Boise, Idaho.  Brandon, Pam, and I all volunteered to help out with the Games.  Ironically, Brandon and I were assigned to help escort the team from Korea into the Opening Ceremonies.  I attached a picture of him holding the Korea snowflake that the 2013 GOC used on their official website.  Cool, huh?  It has come full circle now that Brandon will be escorted in to the 2013 Opening Ceremonies by the folks in Korea!  Wow…Brandon looks so young in those pictures…he was 15 back then.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Snowboard Practice at Bogus

Today Brandon went to Bogus Basin to practice snowboarding for his competition.  He has a personal snowboarding trainer, Alan, who is helping him with his skills.  Brandon will go back to Bogus again on Saturday to practice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Team USA Snowboarders

On December 10th– 14th, Brandon attended the Team USA training camp in Lake Placid, NY.  The have an Olympic training center there.  All 152 Team USA athletes and their coaches went to the camp.  Brandon practiced snowboarding with his new snowboard and met the other 8 snowboarders that he will be competing with.  Here are a few pictures of him with his new team...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Idaho Athletes

Brandon is a member of the Ghostbusters team with Special Olympics Idaho.  Brandon, Andrea Mousseau, and Jerry Smith are the three Idaho athletes chosen to be part of Team USA.

Link to Fox news article

Link to Boise Weekly news article


Katie writes:

Welcome to our blog!  Pam Sommer and I (Katie Bennett) are travelling to PyeongChang, South Korea to watch my son, Brandon Staley, compete in snowboarding in the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games.  The games begin on January 29th and go through February 5th.

Brandon leaves Idaho in 10 days for his adventure.  Pam and I will leave on January 26th.

Check back daily for new pictures and the coolest commentary on the adventures the three of us have in South Korea!