Some athletes aren’t very vocal; they would rather let their physical abilities do their talking.
Although Katy Wilson is a phenomenal athlete — she has won hundreds of medals in her 24-year career — she also has lots to say.
In a few days, the Gainesville resident will get the opportunity to speak her mind. She’s been selected to be a delegate in the 2010 Special Olympics Global Congress, held Sunday through June 10 in Morocco.
“I felt very excited and honored and happy (when I was selected) because I will get to see some of my friends from other countries,” said Wilson, 29.
“I have never been to Morocco. I am very excited about going. I love to travel and see new places and make new friends.”
This is the third global congress session, and the second time Wilson has been selected to participate. During the sessions, held every five years since 2000, Special Olympic athletes and leaders come together to discuss how to move the organization forward.
“I want to see the Special Olympics continue to grow. It helps athletes like me (with intellectual disabilities) to feel proud of ourselves,” said Wilson. “Through our sports, we learn life skills and grow confidence.”
Because Wilson is a global messenger for the Special Olympics, she has traveled around the world spreading the organization’s message. However, this trip marks the first time that she has traveled internationally without her family.
“We usually travel with (Wilson), but she did travel last year to Washington D.C. (for the annual Special Olympics Capital Hill Day) without us, so I think she is ready to be more independent,” said Jeanne Wilson, Katy’s mother.
“She will be in good hands with Special Olympics staff and facilitators, but we have worked hard to be sure she will feel safe and comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.”
In Morocco, Wilson will be one of 600 delegates representing 139 countries, who will influence decisions that will affect more than 3 million Special Olympic athletes. Out of the 27 North American delegates, Wilson will be the only representative from Georgia.
“We are always proud of (Wilson) and her accomplishments. The global congress is a unique opportunity for her to participated with other athletes to make decisions about the future of Special Olympics,” Jeanne Wilson said.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime — a memorable experience for everyone who participates.”