United States libero Bethany Zummo expressed her hopes of collaborating with Great Britain’s Olympic gold medallist diver Tom Daley, who went viral for knitting poolside at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“I’d love to make something that meshes Olympic and Paralympic together. He is really good at creating images inside of his knitting. He could totally teach me how to do different images and then we could do the Paralympic Agitos as well as Olympic Rings and we can blend it. I’m waiting for the DM from him because I haven’t gotten that yet.”
– Bethany Zummo
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Zummo, whose passion is sewing, was introduced to the craft at a young age by her grandmother. The talented athlete also has design projects that helped the elderly during the pandemic by making masks for the community in California. (Read more: Bethany Zummo: Pandemic, passion, purpose)
Just before Tokyo 2020, uncertainty struck on the team’s participation, but Zummo remained calm with the help of a sports psychologist and got through it thanks to crocheting.
“We really worked on giving me the tools to be mindful and just be here, because the anxiety is real. It was about putting an identity to what the actual fear is, and then just relinquishing control because I don’t have any control over this situation,” she said.
“That was the biggest part of this, I have zero control and that’s OK. I will do what I have control of, so I crocheted a lot throughout this whole thing.
“I swear I haven’t had a panic attack only because I keep crocheting, I’m just saying to myself, ‘I’m going to keep crocheting and everything’s fine’.”
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Zummo won gold at the Rio 2016 and made it to her second Paralympic Games. She arrived on the eve of her team’s first match, but was just happy to be with her team and record their first victory at Tokyo 2020 with a straight-sets win over Rwanda in the Pool B preliminary round at Makuhari Messe Hall on Saturday.
“We’ve got a little running joke about how for me it’s like ‘Practice what? I don’t need to practice, I’m just here to play’,” Zummo said.
“I was on my flight yesterday and I was just so happy to be on a plane, and then so happy to be landed with a negative test and able to join my team again.
“We were warming up and I was in the serve, serve, receive (drill), and I tell you, I have never been happier. I’m where I’m supposed to be, I’m comfortable, I’ve been playing this for 11 years.
“I love every minute that I get to be on the court and this whole experience has just made me so grateful for being able to physically be here, and be with my team and play volleyball.
“My whole team was just so happy that I was here to play. They knew that even if I was a little bit off today – which I did feel even though they were like, ‘No, you played great’ – that they were going to help pick up the slack that I needed help with.”