American Lora Webster: 5 months pregnant and after 5th medal

Sep 1, 2021, 12:42 PM | Updated: Sep 2, 2021, 12:46 am

TOKYO (AP) — The volleyball phrase “bump, set, spike” has a special ring for American Lora Webster.

She’s a sitting volleyball player at the Tokyo Paralympics, and for her the “bump” refers to something entirely different.

She’s five months pregnant and expecting her fourth child.

“I don’t really remember half the time that I’m pregnant when I’m playing, except for the occasional kick I get while I’m on the court,” said the 35-year-old Webster, who lost her lower left leg to bone cancer when she was 11.

“”I just have to be more conscious of how I’m diving.,” she added in an interview with Associated Press. “When I do dive, I have to consider I’m not diving straight on my stomach.”

Pregnancy. Paralympics. They go together for Webster. She going for her fifth medal in her fifth Paralympics, and a couple merit asterisks.

This is the second Paralympics in which she’s been pregnant, and the third time during a competition. She and her American teammates face Brazil on Friday in the semifinals with a possible gold-medal game on Sunday on the closing day of the Games.

“It’s not dangerous as long as you have a healthy pregnancy,” she said. “But it just seems bizarre to be so far along and competing.”

Webster won gold five years ago in Rio de Janeiro to go with silver medals in London and Beijing, and a bronze in her first Games in 2004 in Athens.

“My body has been playing volleyball for 18 years. The movement are normal,” Webster said. “My body is trained in it, so my body is able to balance both the pregnancy and the competition fairly well.”

Sitting volleyball follows most of the same rules as standing volleyball. There are six players on a side, but the court is smaller — 10 meters x 6 meters (about 32 x 20 feet) — and the net for women is set at 1.05 meters (just over 3 feet).

Impairments can be to the lower or upper limbs, or both.

Webster played standing volleyball in high school, wearing her prosthetic, and said she was offered a college scholarship. Instead, she started focusing in 2003 on the sitting game.

She said she trains mostly at home with her three children — Madi, 10, Cole, 8, and Kyle, 6 — and her husband Paul.

Webster underwent a surgery known as “rotationplasty,” which involves removing the middle part of the leg, and moving up the ankle joint — but rotating it 180 degrees — to replace the knee. The ankle then flexes in the same direction as the knee, and the foot fits into the prosthetic leg.

“A prosthetic is just something you use to get there, just like a good pair of shoes makes a runner even better,” Webster said. “A good prosthetic makes an athlete and an amputee just as able as they were with two unaltered legs. A prosthetic is really just a tool to get us to go where we want to go.”

Webster talked at length about Paralympians being more than just athletes, but also messengers for what is possible.

“Once you’re an athlete, you’re always going to find a way to continue to be an athlete — prosthetic or not,” she said.

She told the story of meeting a woman at the beach who hadn’t worn shorts for 35 years, ashamed of revealing her amputation and drawing stares.

“The stigma of disability is much heavier than the actual disability that many of us carry,” she said.

“Just because you are faced with a disability, it doesn’t mean it derails the goals that you have,” she added. “A disabled person’s goals can still be the same as an able-bodied person’s goals. The difference is just how we get there. Our limitations are mostly the ones put on us by other people, not ones that we put on ourselves.”

Webster said she can do almost anything, though she singled out one impossibility.

“Sitting in a normal airplane seat,” she said. “But that’s not just me, that’s plenty of able-bodied people, too.”


More AP Olympics: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, drives to the basket on Atlanta Hawks center Cli...
Associated Press

Lillard scores 42 as Trail Blazers hold off Hawks 129-125

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 42 points, Anfernee Simons hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 34 seconds left and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Atlanta Hawks 129-125 on Monday night. Dejounte Murray had 40 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Hawks, who played without star point guard Trae Young (ankle). […]
23 hours ago
Baylor guard Keyonte George (1) looks for the basket past Texas guard Arterio Morris (2) during the...
Associated Press

Rice, Allen lead No. 10 Texas over No. 11 Baylor 76-71

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sir’Jabari Rice scored 21 points and Timmy Allen added 18 to send No. 10 Texas to a 76-71 win over No. 11 Baylor on Monday night, ending the Bears’ six-game win streak and keeping the Longhorns in a share of first place in the Big 12. Rice made four 3-pointers in […]
23 hours ago
Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson, right, drives against Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, le...
Associated Press

Bridges scores 29, Suns pull away late, beat Raptors 114-106

PHOENIX (AP) — Deandre Ayton had to do a double-take in the final minutes as his Phoenix Suns pulled away for another win. His eyes weren’t playing tricks. That was Mikal Bridges getting big mid-range buckets during crucial possessions in the fourth quarter, not injured All-Star guard Devin Booker. Bridges had one of his best […]
23 hours ago
Winnipeg Jets' Josh Morrissey (44) celebrates after his goal against the St. Louis Blues with Saku ...
Associated Press

Morrissey, Scheifele lead Jets’ rally in 4-2 win over Blues

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Josh Morrissey and Mark Scheifele each scored twice in the third period as the Winnipeg Jets rallied for a 4-2 win against the St. Louis Blues on Monday night. Saku Maenalanen and Kyle Connor each had two assists for the Jets, who snapped a three-game skid. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 24 shots. […]
23 hours ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, is fouled by Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart, right...
Associated Press

Doncic scores 53 in return, Mavericks beat Pistons 111-105

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 53 points in his return to the lineup and Spencer Dinwiddie scored 10 of his 12 in the fourth quarter as the Dallas Mavericks rallied to beat the Detroit Pistons 111-105 on Monday night. Four of Doncic’s five career 50-point games have come this season. He scored a career-best […]
23 hours ago
Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell (0) reacts to a foul call during the second half of a...
Associated Press

Fox, Lyles help Kings outlast Timberwolves 118-111 in OT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — De’Aaron Fox scored 32 points and Trey Lyles had eight of his 11 points in overtime for the Sacramento Kings, who outlasted the Minnesota Timberwolves 118-111 on Monday night. Malik Monk scored 19 points, Domantas Sabonis had 17 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out and Keegan Murray added 13 points and […]
23 hours ago
American Lora Webster: 5 months pregnant and after 5th medal