Meg skates to an Olympic place
4:26pm Sat Jan 07, 2017
A 13-year-old with Down’s syndrome has surpassed all expectations after being selected to compete in the Special Olympics World Winter Games in March.
Meg McFarlane, of Ompton, had a serious heart defect at birth and underwent several heart operations. Momentarily her heart stopped beating.
Despite doctors telling her parents she would never walk, Meg overcame all the odds to reach international standard in figure skating.
She is part of a team of 21 athletes, including ten figure skaters, who will represent Great Britain in the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.
The world winter games, one of the biggest events in the movement’s global calendar, is held every four years.
In the past she has been to the Austria, Iceland and Finland Special Olympics, securing a fourth-place, silver and gold medal respectively.
She also claimed gold at the Special Olympics National Competition in 2015 and silver in the same year at Inclusive Skating’s National Competition.
Meg, who became interested in figure skating after watching an episode of Dancing On Ice when she was five, said: “My skating and Special Olympics has given me so much confidence.
“It’s given me a circle of friends at my skating club and internationally from the people that I meet when I compete.
“It has improved my physical capabilities and my level of fitness and motivation.
“I love skating and performing for an audience. I want to perform at my best and focus on my own personal performance in order to improve on the results I have achieved in previous competitions.
“After the Games I want to continue to improve my level of skating and become the best that I can be.”
'We are enormously proud of our daughter'
Meg trains at the Lammas Ice Skating Club, based in Sutton-in-Ashfield, where she has won the annual ice skating championship for the past three years.
Her father, Cory McFarlane, believes her success should act as an inspiration for others looking to overcome adversity.
“Like any parent we have high hopes for Meg and believe that she can achieve anything in life,” he said.
“The only people who may hold her back are the people around her and we encourage everybody who engages with Meg to think big.
“When it was mentioned that there may be a way to get Meg’s passion for her sport noticed through Special Olympics we were thrilled.
“We are enormously proud of our daughter and what she manages to achieve, mainly because we know how hard she has to work to do so.
“But I’m hoping that the world may see something to inspire them. Meg’s heart had to be revived as a young baby so every day is a gift.
“The whole world is on offer to Meg. She may have Down’s Syndrome but that does not define her. There are no boundaries for her or anyone with or without a disability.”
The family organised a justgiving campaign, which raised £2,455, to help achieve the finances to take part in the competition.