FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 3/28/2008
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Judy Everett Ramos, 817-399-2025
Student Gives Her Special Olympics Gold Medal to
Her Sports Hero
Lots of student athletes have a favorite professional athlete they admire, and sometimes, they get to meet them for an autograph. But it’s not everyday that the student athlete gives the pro an Olympic medal for good luck.
Amanda McGowan is a Special Olympics athlete, competing in basketball and golf. She recently attended a Dallas Mavericks pre-season game with the Trinity High School German Club, which had arranged a post-game meeting with Dirk Nowitzki, last year’s NBA Most Valuable Player and now the Mavericks’ all-time leading scorer.
McGowan was wearing her Special Olympics gold medal around her neck, and while the group was waiting for Nowitzki to make his appearance, an usher asked McGowan what she was wearing. McGowan explained that she won the medal in golf and also had one for basketball. She asked the usher if she could give the medal to Nowitzki for good luck.
After some initial hesitation on Nowitzki’s part, McGowan convinced him to take the medal, because, as she said, “I have several,” and she really wanted to give it to him for good luck.
After a Q & A session with students, in both German and English, McGowan and her mother, Robin, were asked to move to a special seating area. Nowitzki met them there a few minutes later. That’s when the one-on-one began.
The McGowans and Nowitzki chatted about hometowns and sports, and then McGowan reached for the gold medal around her neck.
“I want you to have this to bring you luck to win the NBA championship,” McGowan said.
He stared at the medal. “You really want me to have this?”
Robin McGowan watched the entire exchange in awe of her daughter.
“Dirk wanted to know how she got the medal, and she told him she had just won it at the State Games at Texas A&M, taking first place in the women’s division for golf, and that she was awarded another one for basketball the year before,” McGowan said.
“He asked her what her favorite sport was, and she said basketball. And then Dirk told her that he was going to put the medal in his locker and keep it there, so he could look at it every day,” she said.
McGowan and Nowitzki talked about video games (she plays them, he doesn’t) and a variety of other topics. Then Nowitzki asked Amanda if he could sign her "Dirk" jersey that she was wearing. Amanda was elated as he autographed it, and a few other items, for mother and daughter.
“Dirk talked to Amanda for at least 15 minutes,” McGowan said. “I was very proud of her as she carried on a conversation with an NBA superstar just like she was talking to one of her friends. Dirk seemed to be in as much awe of Amanda as she was of him.”
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