Laura Beth Matus of Huntsville, Alabama will be taking her graceful ice-skating talents to the Olympic arena as she competes on the world stage in Figure Skating as a member of Special Olympics USA. Having been an active Special Olympics athlete for the past eight years, Matus got involved with the organization thanks to a recommendation by her local coach. She has also had several friends involved in the program.
“I’m looking forward to skating, getting a gold medal, and traveling on an airplane across the ocean,” said Matus, who serves as the only athlete representing Alabama at the 2017 Special Olympics World Games.
Matus has been skating since she was five years old, and is best known for blowing kisses to the judges after her routines. In addition to her love of figure skating, her other hobbies include dance, theater, yoga, horseback riding, and choir. Her favorite type of dance is jazz, and she has proudly won Homecoming Court the past two years at her high school.
Over the years traveling has become a prominent part of Matus’s life. Some of her favorite destinations include Canada, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Maine, and New York. Through skating competitions she has also had the opportunity to visit several states, such as Georgia and North Carolina.
When asked what she is most proud of, Matus described her dedication to being an athlete. She believes competing at the World Games will be her biggest accomplishment yet. “I worked really hard and it’s paying off,” she said.
In a recent interview with ABC 31 WAAY, Beth's coach Heidi Stephan said, "She doesn't think she has any disability, and that's the good thing about it. There's nothing that's holding her back in her mind."
Matus is the lone representative from the state of Alabama.
"They understand the difference between supporting their Alabama team, and then being on the USA team. That great pride of wearing the red, white and blue -- yeah, she's all about it," said Stephan.
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