Having been involved with Special Olympics for nearly 20 years, Dixon has competed in a variety of sports, such as bocce, golf, equestrian and basketball. This past month, however, Dixon focused her talents on the pool and shined in the swimming competition at the 2017 Special Olympics North Carolina Summer Games.
“I brought home two gold medals,” Dixon said. “It was a blast.”
Bringing home the gold has become the norm for Dixon in her Special Olympics career. The Special Olympics Harnett County athlete has been scaling the podium since her first Summer Games in 2001. In 2015, Dixon even took her talents to the national level when she represented North Carolina in the Special Olympics North America Golf Championship in Hilton Head, SC. Dixon continued with her success, adding another gold medal to her collection in that event, as well.
However, Dixon is more than just a superb athlete with a big trophy case. She is also a strong advocate for Special Olympics. Currently, Dixon recruits potential athletes, volunteers and sponsors through public presentations as a Global Messenger for SONC. She shares her story and tells others how competing in Special Olympics has positively impacted her. On top of being a Global Messenger for SONC, Dixon also volunteers for the North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The Harnett County superstar thoroughly enjoys helping the Torch Run and tries to do it as often as possible.
“It’s fun to get to help out and meet police officers from across the state,” Dixon said.
Dixon’s mother, Holly Watt, is a co-coordinator for Special Olympics Harnett County. Watt has watched Special Olympics shape her daughter for almost two decades and firmly believes the leadership roles have done wonders for Dixon’s confidence.
“Some of the leadership roles that Special Olympics has created has really helped her come out of her shell,” Watt said. “She’s not just representing herself but a county.”
Dixon has gained so much confidence that she is now the life of the party whenever they go places together and is proud to share her experiences with Special Olympics with anyone.
“Everywhere we go she has her business card,” Watt said. “She will go right up to people and start talking to them.”
Beyond becoming more outgoing, Watt has witnessed Dixon meeting many new people and making lasting friendships.
“It’s been a great outlet for her,” Watt explained. “She now has friends all over the state.”
One of Dixon’s close friends is ABC11 meteorologist Don Schwenneker, more commonly known as “Big Weather.” In support of Dixon and SONC, Schwenneker now makes an annual stop at Summer Games as an awards presenter. This year, in his ABC11 story about Summer Games, the meteorologist even used a picture of Dixon on the live telecast.
When Dixon is not bringing home gold medals or promoting Special Olympics, she spends time working at Kohl’s and loves traveling to the beach.
Dixon is a versatile athlete that has a plethora of gold medals to back it up. But, above all, she is a kind person who genuinely loves Special Olympics. After almost two decades with Special Olympics, she now has friends from all over and is as confident as ever.
Congratulations on being named SONC’s 2017 July Athlete of the Month, Kelly!
Favorite time of the year: NASCAR season
Favorite NASCAR driver: Jimmy Johnson
Favorite football team: Clemson
Favorite TV show: Cops