DURHAM, North Carolina (October 24, 2022) – North Carolina Amateur Sports, the host organization for the BODYARMOR State Games of North Carolina, is excited to announce that Winkie LaForce has been named the 2022 National Congress of State Games Adult Female Athlete of the Year. Twenty-Nine State Games organizations throughout the United States awarded Athletes of the Year and submitted nominations for this national award. Winkie will be recognized and receive her award on Wednesday, October 26th, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at the TEAMS Conference and Expo, the world’s leading conference and expo for the sports-event industry.

Winifred “Winkie” LaForce, 75, lives in Chapel Hill and decided to give Pickleball a try back in 2015 after retiring from her position as the President of Leadership Triangle. She quickly fell in love with the sport and was soon playing every day. She became a certified Pickleball coach and then began to compete in tournaments across the country. She even took her love for the sport overseas to Ghana in 2019 where she facilitated building the country’s first ever Pickleball court.

With a wide range of Pickleball experience under her belt, Winkie finally returned to where it all began by participating in the 2020 State Games Pickleball Tournament. Her connection with North Carolina Amateur Sports and the State Games of North Carolina runs deep as Winkie was the Director for the first ever State Games held in North Carolina in 1986 as a test event for the 1987 Olympic Festival. She then went on to become the Executive Director and helped to formulate the National Congress of State Games.

She has continued to keep in touch with the staff over the years and has now won numerous medals from her participation in the pickleball tournament. The entire NCAS staff is overjoyed to see her on the court enjoying the event and Winkie already has plans for more medals and more pickleball at the 2023 BODYARMOR State Games being held in the Charlotte area next June.

“And to think it all started in 1986 with planning the State Games of North Carolina to now playing Pickleball in the State Games of North Carolina for the last three years… that is one great circle of life!” Winkie’s story truly has come full circle, but there is much more to be written.

About North Carolina Amateur Sports:  North Carolina Amateur Sports (NCAS) is the 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that annually hosts the BODYARMOR State Games of North Carolina and Cycle North Carolina. NCAS is dedicated to the promotion of health, physical fitness and the Olympic Movement in North Carolina. For more information on NCAS and its events, please visit www.ncsports.org.

About the National Congress of State Games:  The National Congress of State Games (NCSG) is a membership organization comprised of 29 Summer State Games and 10 Winter State Games organizations and a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Multi-Sport Organizational Council. The mission of the NCSG is to support State Games member organizations in the promotion of health, fitness and character building through Olympic-Style competitions and physical activities.