CHARLOTTE, NC - At the end of the month more than 7,000 athletes from 177 nations will converge on Los Angeles, California for the 2015 Special Olympic World Games. Katie Degnan, 22, is one of just 4 athletes from North Carolina that will make the trip.
Degnan, a Charlotte native, has been involved in the Special Olympics for the past 6 years competing in everything from basketball to swimming. However, in the world game, she has been selected to play tennis. “It’s an honor to be chosen to go to the World Games,” said Katie Thursday afternoon right before practicing at East Mecklenburg High School.
Katie’s been playing tennis for the past 4 years and practices every day of the week the week to make sure she’s ready for the World Games.
“She wants to get out there and practice and get in a groove, get the stroke down pat, and be ready to go," said Special Olympics Coach Bob Bowler.
Katie’s won gold medals for competing in tennis and swimming in the past but this will be her first time going for a medal in the world games.
"We never ever thought something like this would happen,” said Katie’s mother Jackie. “We just wanted to get her involved in sports because sports are fun. “You celebrate everybody’s victories. That's the beauty of Special Olympics, it truly isn't about winning, it’s about doing your best and having fun with it."
That’s the key for Katie, who admits a medal would be nice but the most important thing is meeting new people from all over the world.
The 2015 Special Olympic World Games take place from July 25th to August 2nd in Los Angeles.