The lone Special Olympics U.P. figure skater trains for competition


MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Special Olympics Michigan Area 36 is hosting its 2020 U.P. Winter Games on Saturday, and one athlete is as powerful in the weight room as she is graceful on the ice.

Deni Bowen is the only figure skater in the U.P.’s Special Olympics this year. But, that doesn’t stop her from continuing her training. Bowen has participated in the Special Olympics for 29 years, with figure skating being one of the first sports she competed in.

Chris Gauthier, a figure skating coach for the Marquette Figure Skating Club, has been training with Deni for nearly two years and she said Deni is constantly improving.

“Deni has been a pleasure to work with. She’s very determined, she works hard. She tries really, really hard and I just love working with her.”

And while you might catch her on the ice, she also dedicates time to six other Special Olympic Sports. Some sports include basketball, swimming, and her newest sport ….powerlifting, which happens to be her favorite.

She trains twice a week with a powerlifter trainer and will compete in the U.P. Summer games.

Her sister wants to thank the community for supporting Deni and the games.

“She just really enjoys the participation, the socialization, and being on a team. She got to know a lot of people,” said Kelly December, also her Special Olympics Figure Skating head coach.

While there is usually a competition during the Winter Games, there will be no figure skating event due to one participant. However, this automatically allows Bowen to compete at the state games in Traverse City in February.

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