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February 10, 2013 | North America: Georgia

Moving on Up: Georgia Athlete Shows What Confidence Can Do at State Winter Games

By Wendy Bigham, Special Olympics Georgia

Michelle Pratt is on the right and Angela Pratt is on the left.

Michelle Pratt’s 13 years of sports training and competition in Maryland, Florida and now Georgia has led her to become captain of her basketball team, the Lakers, at State Indoor Winter Games last month in Cobb County. She was one of about 1,800 athletes who competed that weekend. And with her history of learned skills and newly developed leadership, the Lakers did well. They earned fourth place in Division 3 at All Tournament Players Park. “I was happy with our competition. Everybody was doing what they were taught to do,” she said. In addition to competing, Michelle led athletes in warm-ups before games and served as a mentor. “It means a lot to me. If they need anything, they come to me.” Someday she wants to take the team captain position to a higher level: assistant coach. That goal setting and personal growth is credited to sports competition and social development she learned through Special Olympics Georgia. Michelle and her sister Angela, who played basketball with the Mavericks at Winter Games, have developed confidence in themselves, said their Mom Evelyn. “They get to be a part of a team, where they don’t feel different. They’re not alone,” she said. Feeling “normal” and having high self-esteem is what it’s all about, Evelyn said. Note: Michelle is the 2013 Athlete Ambassador to SOGA’s Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) Executive Committee, which was created for the purpose of managing and planning LETR activities.

About Wendy Bigham, Special Olympics Georgia: Wendy Bigham is the senior public relations manager at Special Olympics Georgia.
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