LEWISTON — Reggie and Cathy Emery of Lewiston were looking forward to congratulating their daughter Friday night on her silver medal achievement in the World Winter Special Olympics in Korea.
That's when Maine's two World Special Olympics athletes, Kala S. Emery of Lewiston and Tanya Scott of Mexico, were due to arrive here from their 16-day trip to Pyeongchang.
However, because of the snowstorm, the women are spending a few extra days in California, Lisa Bird, Special Olympics Maine spokeswoman, said Thursday afternoon.
"California sounds like a pretty good place to be during a blizzard, and our athletes' safety always comes first," Bird said Friday morning in Portland.
Kala Emery, Scott, and Maine winter sports coaches Aaron DeMillo of Jay, Andrea Lee of Bangor and Duane Hall of Brewer were selected to attend the world games with Team USA from Jan. 29 through Tuesday.
DeMillo coached Nordic skiing, Lee coached alpine skiing, and Hall coached snowshoeing.
Scott, 31, is a Rumford native and member of Emma's Happy Rebels team. The snowshoe athlete told the Sun Journal in November that getting chosen to represent Maine and the nation on Team USA and travel to Korea was a big leap for her.
"I'm excited because I've always wanted to go around the world and I'm going halfway," Scott said.
Emery, 26, is a Bangor native and member of The Navigators team. She competes in Nordic skiing.
They left Maine on Jan. 24 and attended a send-off party in Boston for the New England athletes headed to the games. On Jan. 25, the New England delegation flew to California where they joined all of the 152 members of Team USA and a send-off party, Bird said.
Team USA arrived in Korea on Jan. 26 and the athletes spent three days living among locals where they learned about Korean customs, food, culture and a bit of the language.
Competition got under way three days later.
"Our Maine ladies worked hard to place while competing against athletes from all over the world," Bird said.
Competitors included 2,300 Special Olympic athletes, who represented more than 110 nations in seven Olympic-type sports — alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, short track speed skating, figure skating, floor hockey and the demonstration of floor ball.
On Feb. 3, Kala Emery won a silver medal in the Cross-Country Skiing 500-meter Freestyle race, taking second place with a time of 4 minutes, 48.66 seconds.
Emery was also a member of the four-person team that won a silver medal on Feb. 5 by finishing second in the Cross-Country 4-by-1,000 kilometer Relay Freestyle race, posting a time of 25 minutes, 59 seconds.
In a preliminary race on Jan. 31 for the 500-meter Freestyle Nordic event, Emery finished with a time of 5 minutes, 37.90 seconds.
Additionally, in the Cross Country 1,000 kilometer Divisioning Round on Jan. 30, she posted a time of 7 minutes, 19.71 seconds and was awarded a blue participation ribbon.
"She's done really well," Cathy Emery said.
According to Special Olympics, Special Olympics sports competitions are based on the idea that athletes of all abilities should be given an equal chance of succeeding, whether it is a personal best or a gold medal. They call this competition-level matching "divisioning."
On Feb. 4, Scott and three teammates competing in the Snowshoeing 4-by-100-meter Relay won first place and a gold medal, posting a time of 2 minutes, 35.46 seconds in the final round. That beat the team's previous race time of 2 minutes, 53 seconds in the Feb. 1 Snowshoeing 4-by-100-meter Relay.
Scott also won a fifth-place ribbon on Feb. 3, posting a time of 1 minute, 35.91 seconds in the Snowshoeing 200-meter Race.
Bird said Scott "achieved a personal best record" for that event.
In the 100-meter Snowshoe Race on Feb. 2, Scott was awarded a blue participation ribbon, finishing it in 33.33 seconds.
In the preliminary 200-meter Snowshoe Race Jan. 31, she posted a time of 1 minute, 31.71 seconds in a different division than that in which she won the ribbon.
She posted a time of 40.03 seconds in the preliminary 100-meter Snowshoe Race on Jan. 30.
Bird said all flights to the Northeast were canceled due to the storm, so all of the New England Team USA athletes will return to Logan International Airport in on Sunday morning.
A Special Olympics Maine staff member will drive them from Boston to Maine.