Teagan Lockwood has been special her whole life, but over the past two years she’s been getting the special recognition she deserves.
Lockwood, a Fairbanks North Star Borough resident, was selected to participate in the 2022 Special Olympic Winter Games. Though the games have been postponed until 2023, Lockwood has still accomplished more than enough to make her worthy of recognition. Special Olympics allows individuals with intellectual disabilities to enjoy the power and camaraderie of sports.
Lockwood, a downhill skier, was named the 2021 Female Athlete of the Year for Special Olympics Alaska. That and being selected to the Special Olympics are already big honors, but her journey started before that.
“In October of 2019 Teagan was contacted by Special Olympics Alaska and notified that she had been selected as their athlete nominee for a female Alpine skier to participate in the World Winter Games in Sweden 2021,” Teagan’s mother, Nicole, said. “She would attend a national team training camp at Copper Mountain, Colorado, in Feb 2020 to secure her spot on the team. She was one of only 18 U.S. females invited to the team. We had to wait until December to make this public per Special Olympics. The whole family was so excited and committed to training with Teagan for her adventure.”
Everything was put on hold in December 2019 after Sweden pulled out of the games. Things got even more complicated in February 2020 as Teagan tumbled during a ski competition and began experiencing knee pain. She continued to compete for two days, but later discovered that she ruptured her ACL and her season was over.
Teagan proceeded to miss the state competition at the high school level due to having surgery on her ACL. Then in March 2020, the pandemic hit.
“... Covid hit and all events were cancelled (so there was) no state competition,” Nicole said. “(Teagan) spent the next few months in physical therapy and getting stronger. Covid complicated this, but we did (a lot) of the PT at home and kept her on track. She never complained, did everything she was asked and had a great attitude. She never complained about pain or things being hard.”
Teagan never lost that attitude as she managed to get back on the slopes in December, just nine months after her surgery.
“Because of Covid no Special Olympics teams were practicing,” Nicole said. “Since the Alpine ski coaches were her parents, we were able to train throughout the season. It was really hard to get back on the slope and trust her knee, but as always she conquered her fears and worked through the hard stuff.”
In January she discovered she was heading to the Special Olympics in 2022. Her hard work was recognized further in August when she was named Female Athlete of the Year.
Sadly, on Aug. 30, the Special Olympics announced they’d be postponing the event by a year due to the Delta variant. That didn’t discourage Teagan.
“When we told Teagan her response was ‘I’ll just be faster next year,’” Nicole said.
If all goes well, Teagan Lockwood will be competing in Kazan, Russia, in 2023 for the gold in the Special Olympics.