Liz `The Gator` Hedger wins gold at 2013 World Dwarf Games! - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Liz `The Gator` Hedger wins gold at 2013 World Dwarf Games!

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Liz representing Team USA and rocking her medals! Liz representing Team USA and rocking her medals!
MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (FOX 32 News) -

The World Dwarf Games is an international sports event that includes nearly 400 athletes from 17 different countries. Liz Hedger, 9, competed this year - and she couldn't have been more excited to swim!

Good Day Chicago joined the Crown Point 9-year-old for practice at Merrillville High School the morning of Aug. 1, where she and her Merrillville Marlins Swim Club coach Jaclyn Grendzinski prepped for the games.

This beautiful girl was born with achondroplasia, the most common of the 200 forms of dwarfism. It limits her height, but not much else. Those who have it refer to themselves as "A-chons."

"I'm excited to swim with people my own size!" Liz said.

Liz competed in track, swimming, volleyball, floor hockey and archery. Liz's dad, Brian, coaches floor hockey himself.

"When we realized her condition, we originally ruled out sports," Liz's father said. "But she's doing it!"

Her parents say she's a natural born athlete. Liz has been working on her swim times, and was ready to compete in the games.

Liz's family calls her "The Gator," because when she first started swimming her freestyle stroke looked like a little alligator trying to catch its prey!

The 2013 World Dwarf Games were held in East Lansing, Mich. on Aug. 2.

Liz and her USA teammates were coached by two dwarf athlete paralympians. Her father, mother Lisa, and 3-year-old brother Chance are excited to get to the games.

"It's going to be exciting for her," Liz's mother said. "She's got a great attitude."

Liz's little brother Chance gave her an encouraging "Go sissy!" just before they said goodbye to Good Day Chicago.

Liz won a number of medals in the 2013 games:

TRACK & FIELD

  • Gold -- Junior Girls 7-9 Tennis Ball throw, 13.6 meters, new WDG Record by six meters.
  • Silver -- Junior Girls 7-9 4 x 20 relay (ran the anchor leg)
  • Bronze -- Junior Girls 20 meter sprint (5.69 seconds)
  • Bronze -- Junior Girls 40 meter sprint (10.93 seconds)

SWIMMING

  • Bronze -- Junior Girls 25 meter freestyle (42.99 seconds, personal best time)
  • Silver -- Junior Girls 100 individual medley (3:50.07)
  • Bronze -- Junior Girls 25 meter butterfly (48.62 seconds)

VOLLEYBALL

  • Gold

FLOOR HOCKEY

  • Gold (1 assist)

SMILES

  • Gold (too many to count)

The Dwarf Athletic Association of America hosts the games every four years, and the event got its start right here in Chicago in 1993. The DAAA wants all little people to have a place to show the world their skills - and compete!

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