Team USA Goalball player Amanda Dennis explains how goalball is played and shares how she was introduced to the sport by former paralympians.
AMANDA DENNIS: My name is Amanda Dennis, and I am a two-time Paralympian. I competed in London 2012 when I just turned 18, so it was a very big surprise for me but gave me a lot of experience, and Rio 2016 where our team won a bronze medal. Goalball is a sport for people who are legally blind. So to be able to compete in the Paralympic Games, you have to have less than 20/200 vision, so everybody who plays goalball is blindfolded.
The court is 9 by 18 meters, which is roughly the size of an Olympic-size volleyball court. And there's raised tactile lines all over the court. Because everybody is blindfolded, we actually have a ball that has bells in it, and it weighs about three pounds. And the point of the game is to actually throw the ball past three opponents on the other side, and they have to listen to the ball and block it from going into their nine-meter-wide net.
I learned goalball from Paralympians who had competed in that sport. And they shared their stories and some of the passions that they had, and it just made me want to become something like them. And it made me believe that I could do anything at the time. Because previously I was like sports aren't for me because I can't do it. I can't see. And then I got there, and I realized how much sports could impact my life and how I could be included in something like that.