Manitoba

Winnipeg Paralympian's volleyball dreams rekindled in Rio

The Rio Olympics may have ended, but for one Winnipegger the Games are just about to begin.

Leanne Muldrew and women's national sitting volleyball team compete Sept. 9

Leanne Muldrew is a member of Canada’s first Paralympic sitting volleyball team. She will start competing in Rio on Sept. 9. (CBC)

The Rio Olympics may have ended, but for one Winnipegger, the Games are just about to begin.

Leanne Muldrew is a member of Canada's first Paralympic sitting volleyball team, which will start the competition in Rio on Sept. 9.

Rio is Muldrew's comeback to the sport.

"When you get a kill at an international level, I think it's a rush of endorphins," she said.

Muldrew played for Team Canada in 2011,  but the team missed its shot at competing in London at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Muldrew, now 33, was a star athlete as a teenager but had her volleyball career come to a halt when she was 16 after a bad fall left her knee buckled and ligaments torn.

After a few surgeries that didn't go very well, she realized she wouldn't compete competitively again.

"I really thought my dream of playing volleyball at an elite level was gone," Muldrew said.

"I sat down with my father and we looked online to see if there was a Paralympic women's volleyball team."

There wasn't and the news was devastating.

"Volleyball was a big part of my identity. It was all I really knew and all I really wanted to do, so I had a lot of hopes and dreams for the future," Muldrew said.

She said she and her team know they have their work cut out for them in Rio, but they're hoping to get a few upsets.

"We're underdogs. We're going to embrace our underdog role," she said.

Muldrew said she's counting down the days until she arrives at Canada Olympic House, the home for athletes in Rio.

"It's a really good feeling."

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