While U.S. Olympic athletes are taking home medals in Sochi today, some a little closer to home are practicing for special events of their own.
It hasn't always been easy for Katrina Ollila to solve the puzzles that come from having a hearing impairment.
"She used to be a very shy, little girl that didn't want to do anything. She would just sit in her room," says Ollila's father Todd Gonser.
But look around her room and you'll see there are a lot more pieces to this 16-year-old.
"Now, you can't get her to stop talking, you can't get her to stop playing, she loves everything. It's like you can't get that genie back in the bottle," says Todd.
"My husband and I always say she's blossomed," says Ollila's mother Jennifer Gonser.
Looking through old pictures, you can hardly believe that this little girl has now earned a special nickname on the basketball court.
"I gave her a nickname, animal, I think last year because she was out there playing like an animal," says Area 12 Special Olympics director Ken Stockert.
Animal for her ferocious play as a Special Olympic athlete.
"We tried regular sports, and gymnastics through the school system, and it was just too hard for her and she was getting distracted," says Jennifer
But now, there's not a sport Ollila won't try.
"She plays them all," says Jennifer.
And it's even become a family affair. Ollila's parents and three brothers all help out.
"I like basketball because I play sports myself, and my brothers are partners, so I like when they watch," says Ollila
"They always say kids spell love "T-I-M-E," and that's the biggest thing. We all spend time together," says Todd.
Now, Ollila passes her confidence on to her younger team members.
"She's almost like a big sister sometimes to the little ones of the team," says Jennifer.
"My teammates are fun to play with, and I get along with them," says Ollila.
So, at home, at school and in sports, Ollila gives it her all.
"Being almost completely deaf, she doesn't let that hold her back," says Stockert.
And it's safe to say Special Olympics was that missing piece that helped her complete her puzzle.
Ollila will be competing with her team at the state Special Olympics basketball tournament in Minot on March 7 and 8. She and her family will be participating in Dickinson's Polar Plunge event benefiting Area 12 Special Olympics on March 29.
Sunday, March 9 2014 8:57 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:57:59 GMT
The Class B Boys season wrapped up the state tournament tonight in Grand Forks. Fargo Oak Groves defeated Rugby 68 to 58 in overtime fashion. North Star defeated the Lions from Linton-HMB 60 to 49 in the
The Class B Boys season wrapped up the state tournament tonight in Grand Forks.
Sunday, March 9 2014 8:54 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:54:06 GMT
The Century Patriots took home 1st place overall in the Swim and Dive State event finishing with 349 points. Followed by Minot with 323 points. North Fargo took home 3rd place overall at 297 points. West
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Sunday, March 9 2014 8:50 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:50:18 GMT
The West Region Class A boys and girls basketball season concluded play today, and the state qualifiers are set. On the girls side Bismarck High won the tournament with a 64 to 61 win over Century. Both
The West Region Class A boys and girls basketball season concluded play today, and the state qualifiers are set.
Sunday, March 9 2014 8:48 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:48:30 GMT
Chair-lifts were packed and tube runs were full, as hundreds of families enjoyed a day at the Bottineau Winter Park. But Saturday was no ordinary day in the Turtle Mountains. It's was the grand opening
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NBC North Dakota News has launched a new channel -- Me-TV North Dakota! If you love the classics, Me-TV North Dakota has them.
NBC North Dakota News has launched a new channel -- Me-TV North Dakota! If you love the classics, Me-TV North Dakota has them. Me-TV North Dakota will also play a replay on the Evening and Night Report at 11:30pm Monday-Friday. As well as, local news and weather updates throughout the day.