Thousands of athletes will be in Rochester this weekend for the annual Special Olympics New York winter games. Here's one athlete who can't wait for the competition to begin.
"I've been skating for about like ten years now."
It is an unlikely story; how Cory Piels wound up on the ice, but when the Brighton woman laces up...
"All the way to the top."
And gets out on the ice, there's no doubt. It's where she belongs.
"Skating, when you watch it on TV, it's like you're gliding on the ice."
Cori is in training for this weekend's Special Olympics Winter Games in Rochester.
"Special Olympics has really taught me a lot of things. How to be brave. How to be confident," she said. "When you actually hear the people cheering for you, it makes you want to try harder."
"Every time I watch her skate, I'm amazed," said Karalee Piels.
Cori's biggest fan is never far away. Her mom, Karalee.
"Cori has more perseverance and drive than anybody I've ever met."
Cori was born in India. At the age of six and a half, she was living in an orphanage there, when her mom adopted her. Skating, at the time, hardly seemed like a possibility.
"She came not really able to do much of anything. She had no language skills, very little muscle tone, she had a hard time walking, skipping, running," Karalee said.
Cori had to beg her mom to let her get on the ice.
"She thought I wouldn't be able to skate because of my balancing issues I've had," said Cori. "Once I got on the ice, I proved her wrong."
"She's relentless. Just like she is with her practicing, she was relentless with wanting to try it and we signed up for lessons and the rest is pretty much history," said Karalee.
Her skating has taken Cori places. She works at the MCC rink. She's made countless friends and testified before the United Nations on behalf of Special Olympians. She's even been on television.
But it is on the ice where Cori Piels is most comfortable. Naturally.
"It makes me really proud."
Competition Begins Saturday
The Special Olympics Winter Games competitions will be held Saturday at various locations around the Rochester area. Our Seth Voorhees will serve as master of ceremonies for the opening of the games Friday night, at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.