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Decorated Northern California athlete headed to Paris to play sitting volleyball at Paralympics

Northern California athlete to play sitting volleyball in Paris Paralympics
Northern California athlete to play sitting volleyball in Paris Paralympics 02:38

SACRAMENTO — A Northern California athlete is on her way to the Paris Paralympics, and she has a tremendous story that starts right here in Sacramento.

It's easy to see Bethany Zummo is at the top of her game, but getting there, that's a whole different story. It all started when she was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency and fibular hemimelia. Basically, she was born without a fibula.

"When I was born, they were like, 'Take your baby home. Love your baby, and we'll see how she grows,' and then, by the time I was 2, I needed to have the amputation," Zummo said.

She never let it slow her down.

"I wanted to try all the sports," she said. "I wanted to be active. I wanted to be playing, and everyone in my world wanted me to be playing."

She would go to Shriners Children's Northern California in Sacramento where she not only got her prosthetics but a whole lot of patience.

"My mom would get mad at me when I would be so active that I would break my prosthetics, and my mom remembers them saying, 'No, we can fix a leg. I want you to play until it breaks. We'll fix it. We'll make it better, but we want you to keep playing,'" Zummo said.

It was in high school that Zummo fell in love with sitting volleyball. She was so good at it that she made the Team USA roster as a senior.

"It's really wild," she said. "As a child, I never thought that was in my future."

Zummo has now been on the team for 14 years, and it's given her so much more than volleyball, like marrying a Brazilian national team sitting volleyball player. Sometimes, there is a little trash-talking between the two.

"Like, I have two gold medals and he doesn't," Zummo said with a laugh.

Her next stop is the Paris Paralympics. Her motivation is her family, her country, and all the kids just like her.

"I do get to meet a lot of kids who are like little Bethanys, and it's so exciting to see that they at this point are trying these sports," Zummo said.

The sitting volleyball competition at Paris 2024 will take place between August 29 and September 7.

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