Team USA hopeful looks for Paralympic curling debut in Sochi
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Olympians competing in the sport of curling never fail to captivate viewers around the world in the Winter Games. Sochi2014 is no exception, as millions watched the oddly fascinating sport unfold on the world's stage.
Oregon's only dedicated curling facility is in Beaverton. That's where you can find Team USA hopeful Cathy Cummins, who has her sights set on next month's Paralympic Games in Sochi.
"I've been working on being an Olympian for years," said Cummins. "Being an Olympic athlete has been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid."
Her Olympic dream wasn't always on the curling sheet. Back in 1992 her sights were set on the Summer Olympics.
"I was a martial artist and competed in judo. Had my sights set on Barcelona and broke my arm and didn't get to compete there," said Cummins.
Cathy encountered another setback in 2005, when she was diagnosed with ALS.
Now 22 years after her first run at the Olympics, she's on deck to compete again. Cathy's the alternate for Team USA curling.
Cummins is perfecting the precision of curling.
"It's just so difficult to do, it requires so much focus. On the other end there is a chess game going on," said Cummins.
If she competes in Sochi, she'd be the first winter athlete suffering from ALS to ever compete at the Paralympic Games.
"When I use my muscles too much they start to spasm. I have to compensate constantly to try and figure out how to make the shot work. If I do the same shot too many times the muscles stop working."
With countless hours of practice on the ice, Cummins could have the chance to compete at the highest level.
"It's amazing when everything falls together and it is the right time for you to win," said Cathy.
As an alternate, Cummins will compete if one of her teammates is unable to make the trip. The Paralympic Games begin on March 7.