LONDON (Reuters) - Sitting volleyball player Kari Miller is determined to land a first Paralympic gold medal in the event for the United States following bronze at Athens eight years ago and silver in Beijing.
“It only stands to reason that we get a gold next,” the bubbly American, who lost both her legs in a car accident in 1999, told Reuters on Wednesday.
“That’s our team goal. Even our veterans are more seasoned and have a better understanding of the game,” added Miller, who helped the team to silver four years ago.
Miller has coped admirably well with the devastation of waking up in hospital almost 13 years ago to discover her legs had been taken away from her.
Working in the military in the late 1990s Miller had returned home from Bosnia having qualified to begin officer training school.
But after a night of toasting her success, in December 1999, the car carrying Miller and three friends was smashed into by a drunk driver and hurtled into a pole.
The drunk driver fled the scene and the driver of Miller’s car died on impact.
“People always say ‘Oh man I feel so bad for you.’ But it’s not like that. I’ve gained the ability to represent my country and to help others while travelling the world,” said the 35-year-old Miller.
“I mean how many people in the world get to play a game and travel the world doing it? I love it,” she said after posing for photos with policeman and fans on the outskirts of the Olympic Village in the rain.
Miller is itching to get the competition underway, mainly so she can again take to the fantastic playing surfaces that she has sampled in training.
“Normally the courts we play on at home, they’re like driving an old car. When we got in there it was like driving a Lamborghini. Everything was HD (high definition) in there,” she said, flashing another broad grin.
Miller will be in action from Friday with the Women’s sitting volleyball competition running until September 7.
Edited by Mark Pangallo