When Josh Brosious of Lewiston won gold medals at the 2008 Special Olympics Maine Winter Games, neither he nor his mother realized that meant a trip to Idaho this month.

With victories in the 500-meter and 1-kilometer Nordic skiing competitions, Brosious, 23, made the 2009 Special Olympics Team USA.

He and three other Special Olympians chosen to represent the state will join nearly 2,500 athletes from 104 countries at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games this Saturday through Friday, Feb. 13, at Nampa, Idaho.

“I don’t even know what to say to him, I’m so proud of him,” mom Denise Koziba of Hartford said Wednesday.

She and a friend are going with Brosious, who flies out of Portland on Thursday with Maine Special Olympics athletes Jackie Contino, 17, of Bangor, an alpine skier; Newburgh speed skater Caitlyn Gunn, 24; and snowshoer Dalton Kinney, 17, of Nobleboro.

They will land in Salt Lake City, Utah, where they will join 330 Team USA athletes and 120 coaches and managers from nearly every state and the District of Columbia before being bused to Idaho on Friday.

“I still can’t believe he’s going,” his mother said. “He’s come a long way. When he was born, the doctors said he would never walk or talk, and look at him. He was born with his heart actually upside down and they didn’t even think he was going to make it.”

Brosious, who was born in Ventura, Calif., and moved to Lewiston at age 1, is a 2006 Lewiston High School graduate. He also has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability, Koziba said.

She said Brosious has competed in Special Olympics as a downhill skier since he was 5 years old.

Two years ago he suffered a knee injury while competing at the Special Olympics Winter Games at Sugarloaf/USA in Carrabassett Valley and switched to Nordic skiing.

After practicing with Special Olympics Team USA at a training camp in December 2008 at Copper Mountain, Colo., Brosious returned to Maine and moved into his own apartment in Lewiston, said Michelle Roy, administrator of Brosious’ Special Olympics team, The Navigators.

His mother said she is very proud of him.

“He’s been through a lot, so this is like a chance of a lifetime. Just to be part of that. It’s a great honor,” Koziba said.

Brosious agreed.

“This is an amazing feeling,” he said. “This is a big opportunity. I’m like, so scared, because I’m representing the U.S.A. and there will be thousands of people there.”

He said he has increased his practice regimen to get ready for the World Games where he will compete in the 500-meter, 1-kilometer and 100-meter four-person relay Nordic ski trials and competitions. He’s been running and stretching and doing deep-breathing exercises.

Brosious is set to start a new part-time job as kitchen help at Bates College in Lewiston when he returns from Idaho.

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