Paralympic athletes looking forward to next games

The University of Central Oklahoma is a Paralympic training site.
BY SARAH HUSSAIN shussain@opubco.com Modified: October 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm •  Published: October 13, 2012
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After the 2012 London Paralympic Games ended in September, some of the U.S. team athletes returned to Edmond, where they live and train on the University of Central Oklahoma campus, an official Paralympic training site.

Jeremy Campbell and members of the women's sitting volleyball team came home with medals.

Campbell defended his 2008 title in the men's F44 discus throw, winning his second gold medal in the event and breaking the Paralympic record. He also broke a record at the 2012 UCO Endeavor Games in June.

The sitting volleyball team finished the games with a silver medal after a 3-1 loss to China in the gold medal finals match.

Bill Hamiter, sitting team women's head coach and program director, was impressed with the promotion of the Paralympics in London.

“They really bought into the sport that was there, but they were also engaged in the stories that came out of that as well, from the Paralympics side,” Hamiter said.

Sitting volleyball team member Katie Holloway, 26, said it was refreshing to be viewed as an athlete first and a disabled person second.

Holloway was born with fibular hemimelia, which required amputation below the knee when she was 20 months old.

She is originally from Lake Stevens, Wash., and has lived four years in the UCO housing offered to Paralympic athletes. She is accustomed to being away from home and her family, having been away for school and sports at California State University — Northridge.

“I graduated high school in 2004 and got a scholarship to play basketball in college,” she said. “Then I moved out from Northridge to here right after my undergrad.”

While Holloway was in college the Paralympic team traveled there to train and she was invited to practice with them.

“The coach called me after my season was over and my coaching staff for basketball and their coaching staff both agreed that my priority would be basketball during my basketball season and volleyball during volleyball season,” she said. “The seasons just kind of worked out where I started going to training camps for volleyball after my basketball season got over with.

“I just progressed into playing both my last two years of college and then when I was done with my college basketball career I just moved out here, which was right in time for Beijing in 2008.”

Kari Miller, 35, also played for the sitting volleyball team during the Beijing and London Paralympics.

Miller, who has lived in Edmond since 2006, is a native of Washington, D.C., where she ran track and played basketball while growing up.

She joined the military to pay for college, then decided to make it a career. One night she went out with friends to celebrate a promotion, and her life plan was changed forever.

Their car was hit from behind by a car traveling 80 mph, which caused it to spin out of control and hit a power pole on Miller's side of the vehicle.

“I was in and out and one time I woke up and looked up and the roof was off the car, then I looked and no one else was in the car with me and I asked a guy who was on top of the car what was going on and he said they would have to cut me out of the car because the car was wrapped around a pole,” she said.

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