LEWISTON – A Lewiston athlete was one of two Mainers who returned home with gold medals from the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Idaho.

Josh Brosious, a cross-country skier, struck gold in the 500-meter Nordic skiing competition and won fifth place in the 1-kilometer race. The 23-year-old joined the rest of the 2009 Special Olympics Team USA in Idaho just days after winning two gold medals last month during the 2009 Special Olympics Maine Winter Games at Sugarloaf/USA.

“I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it,” Brosious said Sunday evening of last week’s win. “I thought I’d got third place because I fell. I thought my time was good, but I didn’t realize it was that good.”

Brosious was one of four Mainers who attended the week-long winter games as part of Team USA. For his mom, Denise Koziba, proud doesn’t begin to describe the experience in Nampa, Idaho.

“It was amazing, just amazing,” Koziba said. “Everybody was so nice, and all the athletes just worked together so well. It was awesome. It was an experience you can’t even begin to explain.”

Fellow teammate Caitlyn Gunn, 24, a speed skater, won gold at the games in the 500-meter speed skating competition. She also won a bronze medal in the 222-meter race and placed fourth in 333-meter race. Alpine skier Jackie Contino and snowshoer Dalton Kinney, both 17, of Bangor and Nobleboro respectively, won five silver and bronze medals between them.

Michelle Roy, administrator of Brosious’ local Special Olympics Team, The Navigators, said that an invitation to the Special Olympics World Games is based on several factors because Maine has a limited number of slots on the national team. Besides qualifying times from the 2008 state winter games, athletes also had to complete an extensive application and present letters of recommendation.

“We’re very proud of him,” Roy said. “It’s like one of our own kids, one of our own family, doing well. We have a great groups of individuals.”

The local delegation joined more than 2,500 Special Olympians representing more than 100 countries. Team USA included 330 athletes and 120 coaches and managers representing nearly every state and the District of Columbia.

Brosious moved to Lewiston from California as a baby and graduated in 2006 from Lewiston High School. From the age of five, he competed in the Special Olympics as a downhill skier, but switched to Nordic skiing two years ago following a knee injury while competing at the state winter games.

He recently moved into his own apartment in Lewiston and looks forward to starting a new part-time job in the kitchen at Bates College.

When asked about the most important thing he brought back to Maine, Brosious hardly needed a split-second to answer.

“My medal,” he said.

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