We know all about the Olympics, and we’re pretty familiar with the Paralympics and the Special Olympics. But what about the Deaflympics? This year for the 2013 Summer Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria, deaf athletes from more than 80 countries will compete in events that include mountain biking, swimming, wrestling, and of course, indoor and beach volleyball.
American beach volleyball players Charity Sanders and Nancy Moore hope to hit the sand in Sofia come July 26. The only thing standing in the way of the former standout indoor players from Gallaudet University is the $4,500 each that it will take for them to buy plane tickets and pay for accommodations, uniforms, and other travel expenses. Although the International Olympic Committee officially sanctions the Deaflympics, neither the U.S. Olympic Committee nor the Special Olympics Committee provides funding for athletes looking to attend the Deaflympics. Sanders and Moore have each set up a page with rally.org, a fundraising site much like KickStarter or GoFundMe, through which at press time Sanders has raised $2,112, about half of her goal, and Moore has raised $1,130.
Sofia will not be the first Deaflympics for either of these athletes. Moore competed in the 1989 games on the indoor team when the U.S. won silver, and Sanders in the 2005 games, also indoors, winning bronze.
Want to read more about volleyball connections to the deaf community? Maurice Torres, star player at Pepperdine, grew up with deaf parents. Read his story >>
Originally published in June 2013