By Natalie Zarowny
The only Iowans on the 210 person U.S. Special Olympics team are living right here in the Quad Cities.
In just over a week, Debbie McDaniel and Stuart Brown will be representing Iowa at the winter games in South Korea, in snowshoeing.
And the duo still can't believe it's all really happening.
"I was like... no way. My mouth completely just dropped," said Stuart.
"I was really excited," said Debbie.
Debbie and Stuart have been snowshoeing for the past year with their coach, Marie Randol.
Marie said the sport is a challenging one.
"Usually snow shoeing takes a little more energy than some of the other events would," said Marie.
The Special Olympics Committee chose names out of a hat to see which state qualifiers would go to the world games.
And Debbie and Stuart, from the same town and with the same coach, both got picked.
Marie said it has to be a combination of luck and fate.
"I don't know what else to call it, it's really phenomenal two people were picked out of the same office to go to Korea," said Marie.
Since they got chosen to represent Iowa, the preparation's been intense.
Marie started the duo in the gym, and then moved them outside.
"She's been really hard on me but I appreciate it because you have to stay on your toes," said Debbie.
Debbie and Stuart agree snowshoeing is fun, but that's not their favorite part about competing in state, national, and now international events.
"I got to meet new people, which are my friends now, and now I'm going to South Korea and meeting friends," said Stuart.
Marie won't be joining them on the trip, but said she'll be watching a live stream from her computer.
And she couldn't be more proud.
"It's overwhelming for me too. I'm thrilled they're able to go, they've done their workouts really well, it's an adventure that's once in a lifetime," said Marie.
The Special Olympics are in Seoul, South Korea from January 29th to February 5th.