DO-IT Ambassador Competes in Deaf Olympics
We opened the game with my basketball team, U.S., leading by ten points. We controlled the game with hot offense and excellent defense. Back and forth, we would make the basket, and Sweden would make the basket —it was a hot game. At half-time, we led by eight points. We were all in the locker room looking at each other and saying, "Twenty more minutes, twenty more minutes..." that's all we had on our minds, to get that game over with, because it was very hot and we were winning. When we got back to the game, we started out COLD shooting in third. Sweden came back and scared us by reducing our lead to four points. Fourth quarter was the longest ten minutes of my life. Both teams were hot on offense and defense; we kept scoring in their faces and they kept scoring in our faces. With time almost running out, we still led by four points. Sweden's player shot a free throw-missed the first and made the second. With a three-point lead, we got the ball and dribbled up front court, missing the shot. Sweden took possession of the ball and we fouled them. Sweden had two chances on the free-throw line. They missed the first shot and made the second, which meant we were only leading by two points.
Then we accidentally threw the ball away when we brought the ball up on the floor. It was now Sweden's ball. There were ten seconds left and we were leading by two points. They got the ball and dribbled real fast. They only had ten seconds left, and the person with the ball "faked her man" and "her man" moved and gave her a wide-open lay-up for the tie. I looked up at the clock, three seconds left, and the ball was still in her hand. She released it and I thought, "Oh no, wide open, tie game." Then, with my eyes shut, she missed the lay-up. From that moment on, I knew WE won!
The game wasn't over yet. We had a time-out right after we rebounded the missed lay-up. Sweden's players were already on their knees and knew they had lost the game. On the clock, it said there was one second left. After the time-out, we got back on the court, threw the ball from out of bounds, and a player threw the ball in the air. I screamed, "WE DID IT, WE DID IT!" and hugged my teammate Ida and fell on the floor with her. All of the players landed on us, making a big, celebratory pile.
My body was about to be crushed because I was on the bottom of the pile. Then we lined up to shake hands with Sweden. In the end, I hugged all Swedish players and told each of them, GREAT JOB!
When it was time to accept our awards, we stood behind the tiny platform that said "#1"—it represented the best in world. We proudly stepped on the platform, bowed, and next thing I knew, the GOLD medal was around my neck. Then it was picture time! Flash, flash, flash, flash and, in my mind, I thought, "WE DID IT!" That was the greatest feeling!
After the Gold Medal was around my neck, when I waved to the people, I realized that was my proudest moment as an American. We had represented our country with honor and dignity. We won the Gold for family, friends, fans, and America. Through five steps (five games), we all accomplished that one goal TOGETHER. We didn't give up from the beginning, we didn't give up when we all got hurt, and we didn't give up until there was 0:00 on the clock. Each of us walked away with the heart of a CHAMPION.