Reporting Jamie Yuccas
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Local Paralympic athletes showed off their skills Tuesday night ahead of their trip to London for competition.
At 16-years-old, Rose Hollermann is already a basketball star.
“I’m actually the youngest player to make the USA Team, for male or female,” she said.
Hollermann is on her way to London because of her past.
“When I was 5-years-old, we were driving and we were hit by a car,” she said.
The crash stole her ability to walk. It also took the lives of two of her three brothers.
“I’m not playing for just me,” she said, “But my two brothers are part of my journey as well. I’ve always thought of it that way.”
Chuck Aoki is considered one of the best wheelchair rugby players in the world.
“Some people say that,” he said. “I like to think that I work really, really hard out there.”
Aoki was born with a genetic condition that breaks down his body. And as he takes the hits, his body will continue to get weaker. However, his attitude only grows stronger.
“I guess something inside me won’t let me give up,” he said.
The two athletes share a common goal.
“Having that gold medal and hearing the “National Anthem” play, that’s enough to push me through,” Aoki said.
Tuesday night at the Courage Center was the last time the athletes trained locally. Now they’re off to camps in other parts of the U.S. to prepare for the games.
The Paralympic Games run from Aug. 29 until Sept. 9 in London. The athletes will compete in the Olympic venues and stay in the Olympic Village.