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Chinese Adoptee Wins a Silver Medal in 2008 Paralympics

SuGui Kriss servingOn September 6, 2008, SuGui Kriss walked into the Bird’s Nest in Beijing as a member of the US Paralympics Sitting Volleyball team.  For SuGui, adopted from an SWI in Kunming in 1995 at the age of 8, it was an experience she never would have imagined until 2007.  SuGui lost several fingers and part of her foot due to a birth defect called “amniotic band syndrome.”  She uses a prosthetic foot that her father boasts makes her more capable than any able-bodied person.  Although she played volleyball all through high school, being part of the Paralympics was not something she considered or even thought about until she was asked to become a member of the US Sitting Volleyball team.  Shortly after graduating in 2007, she travelled to Edmond, OK to train with the team.  SuGui was known for being a setter (?) in high school, but on the Paralympic team she’s known for being a powerful server.  She helped lead the team to a silver medal. 

 As much as she enjoys playing volleyball, the trip to China she most likes to talk about most was the pilgrimage she took back to Kunming in 2006.  SuGui wanted to give back to the people who cared for and who made it possible for her to be adopted.  So she spent 7 weeks volunteering at the SWI, helping to feed and care for the children.  Many children touched her heart.  One little girl became especially close to SuGui.  Another was a 10-yr old boy who couldn’t walk.  He was going to be adopted by an American family so she worked with him to help him learn the English alphabet and some basic words.

 The most important message SuGui wants her life to convey is that with determination anyone can overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams.  When interviewed for the September 16, 2008 article  for ChinaDaily.com she said, "Despite my disabilities, I can do anything I want, so for everybody, just keep going." After the games, she was heading back to her hometown, Albany, NY with a silver medal and a plan to work for the fall semester; then enter the Schenectedy Community College in the spring where she plans to study the culinary arts. 

Sources:

http://paralympics.teamusa.org/news/article/6613
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/paralympics/2008-09/16/content_7029761.htm

Photo courtesy of the University of Central Oklahoma
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