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Marcellus boy takes silver at Empire State Games for Physically Challenged

Donovan Cox, 9, did not return this year from the Empire State Game for the Physically Challenged with a second gold medal, but his collection was expanded to include a silver.

The young Marcellus resident and competitive skier placed second in the Feb. 20 downhill skiing event held at Whiteface Mountain, it was his second year at the Empire State Games.

Donovan, who was born blind, skis with the help of his grandfather, Pat O'Loughlin, who is connected to Donovan by a harness and provides him verbal directions to maneuver him through the downhill course.

Donovan's mother, Adrienne Thousand, said the youth is a member of a long-time skiing family.

"I learned how to ski when I was 5, so when Donovan turned 5, we couldn't find any good reason not to teach him as well," Thousand said.

With a season pass to Song Mountain, Donovan and O'Loughlin practice throughout the winter season, though Thousand said the sport is so enjoyed by both that preparing for competition hardly seems like work.

"Skiing is a sport you can do your whole life, so it's great to start when your young, that way you can be a lifelong skier," O'Loughlin said. "We all know how the winters can be in Central NY, and I figure, if you are going to live here, you might as well find something to do that will allow you to enjoy the season."

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