LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- This spring, a Louisville native will represent the United States in the Special Olympics Winter World Games.

Kelly McCormick, 34, has been coming to Perfect North Slopes since she was nine.

"She just kept advancing her hills," said Claudia McCormick, Kelly's mother. "Every year, we would come, and she'd ski just a little bit higher."

Kelly McCormick has been a Special Olympics athlete for even longer, beginning when she was 8. Of the ten sports she's competed in, she enjoys skiing best.

"Just having fun," Kelly McCormick said.

"When the opportunities came for the world games, she was so adamant she wanted to do it, and we just encouraged her to keep doing it as far as she could," Claudia McCormick said.

That's what she did. In 2009, she won silver and two bronze medals, then gold in 2013.

"She was determined she was going to do it, and she did it," Claudia McCormick said. "Of course, I was very proud."

She'll head to Austria in March, her third appearance at the games.

"I'm excited," Kelly McCormick said.

"The world opened up for Kelly when we got involved in Special Olympics," said Kelly Moriarty, Kelly McCormick's program director, trainer and stepmother. "Been involved now 25 years. Been to so many places, it's afforded us the opportunity to meet all these people too. And we've made lifelong friends."

"We've always joked about a girl from Kentucky skiing in Austria or South Korea. Not like we have a lot of hills," Claudia McCormick said.

More than 2,500 athletes from more than 100 nations will join Kelly McCormick in what is expected to be the largest games in history. 

"Oh, it's been unbelievable," Claudia McCormick said. "The trips she's taking, the people she's met, just the whole experience has been so awesome for her."

Programs like the Special Olympics promote acceptance worldwide.

"She gets to have her own life without me beside her," Claudia McCormick said.

That allows athletes like Kelly McCormick to break through a world of boundaries.

"Just warms your heart," Moriarty said. "I'm telling you, it's the best in the world just to see that she's able to get out here and do this. It's just very rewarding."

The games will be held from March 14-25.

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