Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 31, 2013

No fear: Blind skiers take to Western slopes

(Continued)

"It still brings joy to my heart and tears to my eyes because the freedom was just there immediately," said Umstead, 40. "It just was the beginning of my life. That's when I started living my life."

With her husband as her guide, Umstead won bronze medals in the downhill and Super-combined events at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

"When the man put the medal around my neck and said, 'You made your country proud,' my heart sunk and my neck sunk because the medal weighed so much," she said. "As the tears were falling, I just was like, 'This is what we've been working so hard for. This is everything I believed I couldn't be, and this is just the beginning of everything I want to be."

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Associated Press writer P. Solomon Banda contributed to this report.

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