Green Bay-area native competing in 3rd Paralympic games
ASHWAUBENON (WLUK) -- Wheelchair curling came naturally to Penny Greely.
"I found myself at the World Championships five months after throwing my very first stone in curling as an alternate on the U.S. Wheelchair Curling team," said Greely. "I didn’t really know much about curling. I threw my first stone in July of 2010 and went to the trials in September of 2010."
Greely didn't break on to the Paralympic scene in curling though. after the 1996 summer games in Atlanta she got to see sitting volleyball.
"I watched some Paralympic games and I thought, oh my gosh I'm an amputee and I can be an Olympian," said Greely.
She did, playing on the first ever women's US sitting volleyball team and getting a bronze medal in 2004.
Then, in 2010, she gave another Paralympic sport a try.
“I was playing a little wheelchair basketball and the captain of our team got a flyer from the U.S. coaches for the wheelchair curling team and they happened to be doing a camp here in Green Bay at this club," said Greely. "So I thought, I’ll go check it out."
Two years later and she's competing at the Paralympic games in Sochi.
"Walking into the stadium during the opening ceremonies to the first day of competition and the hype of that," she said. "It just doesn't get any better."
Wheelchair curling is a little different than the curling at the Olympics. Number one, there's no sweeper so that means the placement of the stone is completely on the thrower.
"You're curling with a stick so you're not sliding out of a hack," Greely explained. "You basically position your wheelchair before the hog line, you snap your brakes and your teammates brace your wheels and you have a stick and wherever it ends up it ends up."
Greely said most of her practicing is done on her own at the Green Bay Curling Club. Two of her teammates live in Madison, the other two are form Massachusetts and Connecticut.
“We have constant dialogue and we’re in a constant thread of texts or emails. My phone is going off 24/7," said Greely. "We do have Skype meetings twice a month, we’re connecting that way in addition to actually being physically together at least once a month.”
Greely and the U.S. Paralympic team begin competing Saturday March 10th in Pyeonchang.