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N&N: Special Olympian Tjuana James brings home the gold

Tjuana JamesTjuana James, a participant of Monarch’s River City Achievement Center in Elizabeth City, was among 140 athletes from across North Carolina and Virginia who competed at Appalachian Ski Mountain near Boone for the 2014 Special Olympics Carolina Winter Games.

James, who started skiing when she was 19, took gold in the downhill skiing competition for Pasquotank and Camden counties. She said at the start of the competition she was nervous, but once she got on the slopes it was a lot of fun. Afterwards she got to meet people from across the state.  

Lighting the Olympic Torch, another big honor for athletes, was something else James participated in during the ceremony. According to Leslie Hughes, site manager in Elizabeth City, James was extremely excited after the games to share her experiences and medal with other River City Center participants.

“When she returned, everyone was so proud of her accomplishment,” Hughes recalled.  “She just smiled at all the clapping and congratulations. She said she and her peers had a nice time, but it was “cold!”  

Now that this important competition is behind her, James is preparing for her weightlifting competition that will be held in New Jersey later this year.

“We anticipate more gold coming our way real soon,” Hughes predicted.

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