Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 07:45 pm
Erin Hart has autism, but you’d never know it when she’s on the ice. The 18-year-old figure skater from Pleasant Hill, Ill., trains at Springfield’s Nelson Center ice arena twice a week, and her dedication to the sport has paid off. Erin is one of 11 figure skaters from the U.S. competing at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeong Chang, South Korea, from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5, 2013. She won the gold medal at the Special Olympics Illinois State Winter Games in January 2012 for Level 2 ladies figure skating, earning her a chance to try out for the U.S. national team. Her trip to South Korea is paid for by Illinois Special Olympics, but if Erin’s parents want to see her compete, they must pay their own way. Kathy Hart, Erin’s mom, estimates the cost at about $10,000. They’ve set up a “Hart Family Benefit” fund at the Bank of Kampsville, P.O. Box 188, Pleasant Hill, IL 62366, and at Central State Bank, P.O. Box 217, Pleasant Hill, IL 62366.