Editor’s Note: Before the Paralympic Games open on September 7, we’ll be introducing you to the U.S. Paralympic athletes who will be competing in visual impairment categories in Rio de Janeiro through a series entitled “Rio-Bound”. Follow along on our website and social media with #riobound. Though the torch was extinguished at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony on Sunday, August 21, we’re counting down the days until it is re-lit for the Paralympic Games! A full schedule of events can be found at www.rio2016.com. You can tune into NBC and NBCSN (broadcast schedule here) or stream Games coverage live online at www.paralympic.org or https://www.dailymotion.com/Paralympics.
Jennifer “Jen” Armbruster
Birthdate: February 12, 1975
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
High School: Falcon High School ’93 (Peyton, Colo.)
College: University of Northern Colorado, B.A. Sociology and Sam Houston State University, M.A. Criminal Justice Administration
Motto: There will always be obstacles in life, you just need to figure out how to go over, under or around them to achieve your goal.
Seven-time Paralympian (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016)
2014 IBSA World Goalball Championships – gold
2010 IBSA World Goalball Championships – silver
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games – gold, Team USA Flag Bearer
2006 IBSA World Goalball Championships – bronze
Athens 2004 Paralympic Games – silver
2002 IBSA World Goalball Championships – gold
Colorado Hall of Fame Amateur Athlete of the Year, 2001
Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games – bronze
1998 IBSA World Goalball Championships – bronze
Jen began losing her eyesight at 14-years-old. She was playing basketball when a local newspaper wrote about her desire to continue playing, despite her deteriorating vision. A teacher at a local school for the blind read the article and reached out to Jen about playing goalball, as she continued to play basketball, and Jen has been playing ever since.
Aside from goalball, Jen enjoys playing with her son, Ryder, reading, watching the Philadelphia Eagles, cycling and skiing. We recently caught up with Jen after a training camp at Turnstone in Fort Wayne to find out what about Rio 2016 has her most excited and how she’s preparing.
USABA: What are you most looking forward to about the Brazilian culture?
JA: The food!
USABA: What are you most looking forward to in Rio?
JA: The competition.
USABA: How are you preparing for September?
JA: I’m in the gym or on the court 6 out of 7 days a week. I’m either doing cardio, strength and conditioning, or agility training. Mentally, I’m not preparing any differently than previous Games, although I’m playing with injuries so I’m working closely with my athletic trainer.
USABA: What is a typical day of training like for you?
JA: I work out twice a day – once early in the morning, around 5 or 6 and then after work. The timing will depend on my work schedule and the kiddo [Ryder].
USABA: Who do you thank for helping you get to this point in your athletic career?
JA: My family. They’ve been there for me from day one. Goalball is truly a family affair for us. My mom and sister watch Ryder and allow my wife and I to compete for the U.S. My father has coached me and my sisters in a number of sports and has been coaching the U.S. Women’s Goalball National Team before the Atlanta games. My sister also designs our uniforms and warm-ups and my mom worked for the USOC during the 2008 Games in international games prep so we’ve always been involved in team processing. I would also thank my strength and conditioning coach and my athletic trainer – it’s not as easy as it used to be.
Jen takes the court with the U.S. Women’s Goalball Team on September 8 against host country Brazil. The full tournament schedule is available here. Follow Team USA’s success on social media and on www.usaba.org.
Connect with Jen:
Facebook: USA Women’s Goalball
Personal Website: http://www.usawomensgoalball.org/