Army family reunites at Special Olympics in Korea
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — An American Special Olympian was reunited with her U.S. Army officer brother in South Korea during the 2013 Winter Special Olympics Games.
Capt. Jason Hall watched as his sister Tanya Hall won the Silver Medal in the 50-meter cross country race at the worldwide Winter Special Olympics in Korea.
The Hall family hails from Bristol, Conn.
"The highlight of the games so far has been watching my sister give it her all on the 50-meter cross country race," said Jason Hall. "She was in third place at the halfway mark but pushed herself and took the silver by a photo finish. It was amazing to watch her achieve a medal she will cherish for the rest of her life."
When Tanya Hall heard that her brother was getting stationed with Eighth Army in South Korea, she redoubled her efforts to get selected for the Team USA Cross Country Team.
Her hard work paid off. She earned gold medals in both the 50-meter and 100-meter cross country qualifying matches and was selected to represent her country as part of Team USA.
Jason Hall, the current operations chief for Eighth Army's G-2 Directorate, found out that his sister made Team USA in April 2012.
He said he was thrilled to spend time with his sister during the Winter Special Olympics Games in Pyeongchang, which is also the site of the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics.
During the games, 3,000 athletes from 115 countries will participate in seven major events, including alpine skiing, XC skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, speed skating, figure skating and floor hockey.
The Army captain said the Winter Games venues in scenic Gangwon Province are “world class.”
"The Republic of Korea has done an outstanding job of hosting the Winter Games," said Jason Hall, who served two tours in Afghanistan. "My family has traveled to each of the venues this week to watch Team USA compete in the different events. Each venue has been world class.”
Hall also lauded the many volunteers who supported the Winter Games, which ran from Jan. 26 through Feb. 4.
"The vast number of volunteers from the local communities has been amazing," said Jason Hall, a Penn State graduate. "They are truly committed to the athletes and ensuring their family members are well taken care of while visiting Korea."
Tonya Hall said the highlight of the Winter Games was winning the Silver Medal and spending time with her family and new friends.
"I'm very excited to be in Korea," said Tanya Hall. "It was great seeing my brother and sister-in-law and meeting so many athletes from all over the USA and other countries."
According to Jason Hall, participating in the worldwide Special Olympics is usually a once in a lifetime opportunity and the culmination of a highly competitive and complicated selection process.
Tanya Hall is now a two-time Special Olympian. She also participated in the 1999 Summer Special Olympics in Durham, N.C.
“There are hardly words to describe how proud I am of my sister,” said Jason Hall.