(PHOTO AND STORY: KHQ.COM)
On a peaceful day in Coeur d’Alene, families and friends move along for a relaxing Sunday stroll.
But, if you’re Nathan Smalley, excitement and euphoria run through your veins.
You see, Smalley is a champion down hill skier who just got back from a competition in Europe.
"It's been a long time, I've waited a long time for this,” Smalley said.
Smalley returned home Sunday, Gold Medal and all.
Smalley took the top prize at the World Winter Special Olympics in Austria.
He took first in advanced slalom and also received a silver medal in the giant slalom.
Smalley credits his mother, who passed away in 2009, for his motivation.
“Because of her, she was the one that started and I kept going and because of my mom. She was like a sunflower,” he said.
Nathan has an intellectual disability, but his coach, Greg Quinn, says even on Nathan’s worst day his work ethic sets him apart.
“To watch Nathan on skis was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my life,” Quinn said.
The hard work and years of commitment pays off. Now, Nathan is set to receive another award.
“Getting this house is just like the competition. I have to work for it,” Smalley said.
Thanks to Habitat for Humanity, Nathan will have a new place to call home this summer.
“Being able to call home, home is a big thing for me,” he said.