For more than three decades, Katie Wilson of Johns Creek has won more than 100 medals and awards, but never thought she would ever receive the big one.
Highly-acclaimed gymnast and Special Olympics Georgia athlete, Katy was recently surprised and honored with an Honorary ESPY for the 2017 ESPY Awards. One of 25 Special Olympics athletes in the nation receiving this award, Katy was chosen by Special Olympics International for her more than 30 years of hard work, determination and dedication to not only Special Olympics Georgia but to the organization internationally.
When Katy was born, her achievements were only dreams that some would say were far-fetched. Katy’s parents, Jeanne and Gerry, were told by doctors that their daughter, born with Down Syndrome, would have limited options in life. “When we think back to that moment, we never thought that Katy, or our family would be where we are today,” Jeanne says.
Katy is not only a gold medalist in gymnastics, but also an elite bowler and bocce team member for Special Olympics Georgia Hall County. In addition to advanced athleticism, Katy is an International Global Messenger and trains other Special Olympics athletes that enter the Global Messenger program. “I enjoy telling people about Special Olympics because it has helped me gain confidence, independence and happiness,” she says. Katy has gained so much confidence and independence that she has gone on to be a member of Special Olympics Georgia’s Board of Directors and valuable volunteer in the Georgia community.
In the times when Katy is not training, talking about Special Olympics, or racking up awards for her exemplary athletic career, she volunteers with Challenged Child, an organization that offers a tailored experience where children with a variety of developmental delays and disabilities learn in a full inclusion program with children who have “typical” development.
“Kate is so exceptional, happy and successful in event aspect of her life,” says Jeanne. “We could not be more proud of her accomplishments and achievements.”