Cherokee County Special Olympics is excited to have the first DanceSport team under Special Olympics Georgia (SOGA). DanceSport is a newly sanctioned sport for Special Olympics North America (SONA) and currently is in two states: Utah and Georgia.
Special Olympics, founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968, is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions for more than 5.3 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in nearly 170 countries.
Four individuals have been advocating for this sport for three years: Laura Mikszan, LaBlast master trainer for Georgia; Louis Van Amstel, world dance champion and recurring star of “Dancing with the Stars”; and Amy Aenchbacher and Dave Martinez, local coordinators for Cherokee County Special Olympics.
“It is exciting to see Laura use her passion and talents to provide competitive dance opportunities for special Olympians in our community, state and beyond,” Martinez said.
Mikszan is the creator of Warriors of Wonder, a group that focuses on overall fitness for individuals with disabilities. She also created and leads the Warrior Cats dance group, which will be competing with Cherokee County Special Olympics at local, state and national levels.
“We are grateful to Louis and Laura’s efforts. DanceSport will offer opportunities for our athletes to improve their fitness while expressing themselves through the art of dance,” Aenchbacher said.