Carlee Hoffman, 22, earned a gold medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing as a member of the U.S. women’s wheelchair basketball team. “I have trained and dreamed about that moment for four years, and to finally achieve that is an amazing feeling,” said Hoffman.
A member of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Cutlerville, Mich., Hoffman lost both of her legs at age 3 in a lawn-mowing accident. She walks and runs on prostheses.
Hoffman also won gold in wheelchair basketball at the 2004 Athens games. She played four years for the University of Illinois and graduated just before heading to this year’s Paralympics.
“We all shared common goals,” she said of her teammates. “We all wanted to achieve a gold medal, but the majority of the team were Christians, so [we had] another goal. We not only wanted to win, but we also wanted to play basketball to the honor and glory of our Savior,” Hoffman said.
Now Hoffman is off to Jerusalem as an intern, where she will organize wheelchair basketball in the Middle East. “There are a lot of amputees there because of war. She’ll be a great example,” said her mother, June Hoffman.