February 12, 2019 1:01 am

12-year-old Lethbridge figure skater sets sights on Special Olympics World Winter Games

A young Lethbridge figure skater has returned home after a golden moment atop the podium at the Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games in Calgary over the weekend. As Kyle Benning reports, it took an Olympic-sized effort for her to be where she is today.

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Moriah Van’t Land loves to put on a show.

The 12-year-old figure skater jumped at the chance to tell Global News about herself when she saw a camera rolling.

“I’m going to be famous one day. When I grow up, I’m going to move to Japan,” she said.

Morah has autism spectrum disorder.

READ MORE: Calgary athletes train for Special Olympics: ‘Challenging in a really cool way’

When she spoke with Global News, she had just returned home after a weekend trip to Calgary where she won gold at the Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games.

Her goal: compete in the Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Moriah is a natural considering she’s only been skating for four years,” coach Olea Taboulchanas of the Lethbridge Skating Club said.

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“Most of the Special Olympic athletes, they’ve been skating for years and years. They’re in their 20s and 30s. There are so many years left in the sport for her,” she said.

READ MORE: Photos: Hundreds in Edmonton take the plunge for Special Olympics

Moriah’s family is thankful that she’s even able to step on the ice.

“Her muscles just didn’t have any support. When you would try to stand her on your lap, she would just kind of melt. So that was a big part of why she didn’t walk until she was two and a half,” said Moriah’s mother Angela.

As well as overcoming that, she is also completely deaf in one ear and has hearing loss in the other.

“There were hard times when she was younger where I thought she may never walk or talk. To see her so independent and so free out on the ice and just loving it and the joy in her face … it’s overwhelming,” Angela added.

Moriah is extremely strong and motivated to achieve all of her goals, Angela said.

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