BENTON, Ark. — More than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean will travel to Florida to unite in one of the country’s most cherished sporting events, including a dynamic duo from Arkansas.
No, if ands or putts about it, athletes in the Special Olympics are no strangers to training and hard work.
"We practice on like our chipping and putting," Golfer Michael Prewett said. "We practice on our alternate shots, so we know what clubs and how far we need to hit with each other."
Prewett and Logan Granthan are apart of Team Arkansas. The Unified Golf pair is preparing to bring home the gold at this year’s Special Olympics in Orlando.
"It’s a person without an intellectual disability and someone with an intellectual disability playing on a team together," Granthan said.
Although Prewett is no stranger to the games after taking home the silver in 2018, for Logan, it’s a first.
"I placed second place with my partner and I’m hoping this year to get first," Prewett said.
"I’m nervous," Granthan said.
"I’m excited and nervous," Prewett said.
The two will play nine holes of golf on a more professional course than they are used to, but they won’t do it alone.
Rene Prewett is Team Arkansas’s head golf coach. If you’re looking for the course material, Rene is no stranger to the green.
"I don’t know how I got lucky enough to get involved with golf," Coach Prewett said. "I love it. I’ve played all my life. My father was a golf pro, so I grew up on a golf course."
And after months of practice, this Special Arkansas team is ready to get the par-tee started.
"We are super excited," Coach Prewett said. "Logan and Michael are best of friends. They have been for years. They jive so well. They work together well. We practice once a month with the entire Team Arkansas. We get together and meet and then go practice. But, these two guys have been practicing together a lot on their own."
Coach Prewett is hoping to bring home the gold but would be just as satisfied if her teams accomplish one thing.
"Just do their best and have fun," Coach Prewett said. "I just want them to have a good time and I want it to be a great experience for them."
But the Special Olympics are more than just sports. It’s about honoring people with intellectual disabilities.
"They get to do what everybody else does at every sport they want to try," Coach Prewett said. "But it’s so much more than that. It is a family. And it’s a big family. And it’s a family that… It’s a privilege to be apart of that family."
To add to the excitement, Prewett and Granthan have something else to look forward to besides just swingin’ in the rain.
"We go to Disney World," Prewett said.
"And we’re also having an opening ceremony with a lot of celebrities," Granthan said.
Team Arkansas will make their way to Orlando on June 5 and return the 12th, hopefully with a little more gold in their pockets.