Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Sitting Update: International Refereeing and Blogging as Part of Rio’s Preparation

As the world eagerly anticipates the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the U.S. Sitting Volleyball Teams are hard at work preparing for the upcoming Paralympic Games, set to begin on September 7.

Edgar Laforest, an integral part of the U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team from San Juan, Puerto Rico, recently took a detour on his journey to Rio. Laforest served as one of the referees at the NORCECA U20 Continental Championship from July 24-31. With his extensive experience as an international referee since 2005, Laforest brings a unique perspective to the sport.

Laforest’s involvement as a referee stems from his passion for volleyball. Following a car accident that prevented him from playing, he decided to get involved in a different capacity. Laforest’s dedication and commitment to the sport led to him becoming one of the top referees in the United States.

Hugo Storer, another talented player from Puerto Rico, is also part of the U.S. National Team due to the absence of a national sitting volleyball team in Puerto Rico. Together, Laforest and Storer contribute their skills to the U.S. team, showcasing their dedication and determination.

While at the NORCECA U20 Championship, Laforest refereed only one match involving the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team. Due to potential conflicts of interest, Laforest is rarely assigned U.S. matches. However, his expertise has been recognized in past tournaments, including the 2013 NORCECA Grand Prix Qualifier in Puerto Rico and the 2012 Women’s PanAm Cup in Mexico.

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In a separate exciting development, Charlie Swearingen from Gulfport, Mississippi, has been selected to participate in the USOC’s torch relay ahead of the “Carnival on Tejon” celebration. This highly symbolic torch relay serves as a precursor to the Olympics’ opening ceremony and is a testament to the dedication and hard work exhibited by athletes across various disciplines.

Katie Holloway, a member of the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team from Lake Stevens, Washington, has taken on the role of a blogger. She aims to educate and engage fans by answering questions and providing insights about the Paralympics. Holloway hopes to shed light on the similarities between the Olympic and Paralympic Games, while also providing a glimpse into the lives of Paralympic athletes.

The U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team, captained by Holloway, has its sights set on winning the program’s first Paralympic gold medal. After securing bronze in 2004 and silver in both 2008 and 2012, the team is determined to reach new heights in Rio.

Another member of the team, Bethany Zummo from Dublin, California, recently received recognition in Sports Illustrated’s Olympic/Paralympic preview issue. Her image, captured in a centerfold spread, showcases her remarkable athleticism and dedication to the sport.

The U.S. Deaf Volleyball Team also made headlines by winning gold at the Deaf Volleyball World Championship. The team’s exceptional performance secured victory against Japan and Ukraine, with several individual awards also being bestowed upon the players.

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As we eagerly await the Paralympic Games in Rio, let us continue to support and celebrate the incredible efforts of these inspiring athletes. Their dedication, determination, and passion serve as a testament to the power of resilience and the pursuit of greatness.


  1. What is sitting volleyball?
    Sitting volleyball is a Paralympic sport designed for athletes with physical disabilities. It follows the same rules as traditional volleyball, with the main difference being that players must remain seated while playing.

  2. How is the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team preparing for the Paralympic Games?
    The U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team is undergoing rigorous training and preparation to compete at the highest level during the Paralympic Games. They are focused on perfecting their skills, building team chemistry, and developing strategic game plans.

  3. How can I support the U.S. Sitting Volleyball Teams?
    You can show your support by following their journey on social media, attending their matches, and spreading awareness about the sport. Additionally, consider donating to organizations that support Paralympic athletes and their training efforts.


As the excitement builds for the upcoming Paralympic Games in Rio, the U.S. Sitting Volleyball Teams are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations. Edgar Laforest’s journey as an international referee and Charlie Swearingen’s participation in the torch relay showcase the dedication and passion present within the team.

Katie Holloway’s blog series aims to educate and engage fans, bridging the gap between the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team, led by Holloway, is determined to secure their first-ever Paralympic gold medal.

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Bethany Zummo’s recognition in Sports Illustrated highlights the exceptional talent present within the team, while the U.S. Deaf Volleyball Team’s recent success further solidifies the United States’ prowess in the sport.

As we rally behind these remarkable athletes, let us celebrate their achievements and support their journey towards excellence. Together, we can champion inclusivity, inspire others, and make a lasting impact in the world of sitting volleyball.