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From operating table to Special Olympics World Games - Meg McFarlane's journey

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"I'm going to Austria." (0:59)

More than 2,500 athletes from 107 countries will compete at the Special Olympics Winter World Games in Austria (0:59)

It started with glittering costumes and a song from Disney's Pocahontas, and next week the journey will take in participation in a global games.

But 13-year-old Meg McFarlane's sporting story is so much more than that of a girl who fell in love with ice skating and excelled.

Even though she will be one of the youngest members of the British team at the Special Olympics World Games in Austria, which start on Tuesday, the fact that she will be there at all is remarkable on its own.

"Meg was born with Down's syndrome and had open heart surgery at 18 months to fix holes in her heart," said her dad, Cory McFarlane.

"When they had stitched her back up, she had stopped breathing. Effectively, she had gone. They revived her, but at one point they said she would struggle to walk. We were determined that wouldn't be the case."

Dazzled by the sparkling costumes and glamour of television show "Dancing On Ice" as a five-year-old, Meg made a mockery of early concerns about her fitness and became hooked on the sport after a family trip to their local rink.

One-to-one coaching sessions and a confidence-boosting star performance in front of her school friends at her eighth birthday party, to "Colors of the wind", have made figure skating one of the biggest things in her life.

"At that moment, I think her life changed," said Cory. "She went to a mainstream school then and, after that planned routine, she was the best at something for probably the first time. Her classmates and their parents saw her differently."

Ice skating has already made Meg a multiple medal winner in Special Olympics and other similar events. "Skating makes me feel like a princess," said the teenager from Nottinghamshire, England, who won silver and gold medals at events in Iceland and Finland in 2014.

"It makes me feel happy, and I want to make my family proud in Austria. I want to do my best for my coach and the team."

Meg's commitment to her sport has been clear in her five-times-a-week training regime, and her ambitions after Austria are to work towards the next UK championships, in which she claimed silver in 2015. Then, simply, to keep skating as much as she can.

She will be one of a 21-strong British team at the World Games, which will involve nearly 2,700 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 107 countries, and seems set to enjoy the event her dad dexribed as "the pinnacle" of her sport.

"Special Olympics has given me so much confidence in myself," Meg told the Special Olympics GB Facebook page. "It has improved my physical capabilities and my level of fitness and motivation.

"It's given me a circle of friends at my skating club, and internationally from the people that I meet when I compete."

You can bet they will all be rooting for her in Austria.