My name is Johanna Pramstaller. I am 31 years old and I live in Austria. I am a foster child and I have lived at my foster parents’ home since 1993. I have 4 sisters and 2 brothers, all of us are foster children. My uncle brought me to this amazing movement called Special Olympics. Special Olympics changed my life in a very special way.
Sport is very important to me, to work out in a team is so much fun. If I'm stressed out, it helps me to be clearheaded again. Also sports keeps me healthy and fit. Being on a team helps me to grow in confidence. I never thought I could have such high self-esteem. I can do everything, just as well as people without intellectual disabilities. My favorite sports I compete in are alpine skiing, swimming, athletics and golf.
Being on a team helps me to grow in confidence. I never thought I could have such high self-esteem. I can do everything, just as well as people without intellectual disabilities!
Since 2011, I have been part of the Athlete Leadership program. As a spokesperson, I am honored to speak for all the athletes from Austria. Since 2015, I am also a member of the board of Special Olympics Austria. I am heard and I never give up while representing all the athletes. In 2014, I was chosen to be one of 12 Sargent Shriver International Global Messengers. I was very excited about all the upcoming tasks. When I started, it wasn’t easy for me. I needed to learn English, a big challenge. But my strong will and also the support from my mentors, trainers, family and friends helped me learn fast. My most exciting experience while being an IGM was to give a speech at the Coca Cola Founder’s Reception and to be on stage at the Closing Ceremony in Los Angeles in 2015. Another overwhelming experience was to be part of the Special Olympics World Winter Games in 2017 in my country, Austria. I had a big schedule for those two weeks. I gave speeches, I gave interviews, I handed out medals. It was very exciting. I was asked to be part of the Host Town Program, which brought a lot of fun. I hosted the delegation from Luxembourg. To be part of the Closing Ceremony was an honor; I handed over the flag to Abu Dhabi. They will host the Special Olympics World Games in 2019. Now I am part of the Special Olympics leadership program Europe Eurasia. That is so much fun and also very interesting. We already made some goals and we will make more goals in the future!
If you are playing sports or train or competing, you should go for it and give everything. Train hard and do it every day. Improve and support your teammates and every sportsman you meet. Training should be fun. Never forget to warm up before working out. Special Olympics is a very big team and, of course, a family! We are all winners and we can do everything. We are unique.