Nicky Nieves was born without a hand, her arm ending just where her wrist would be, with no obvious medical reason why. Regardless of not having a hand, Nieves dabbled in track & field, cheerleading, and volleyball before just continuing with volleyball. She went to Queens College for volleyball at D2 level and has competed in a number of championships over the years. At her Paralympics games debut in the Rio 2016 Nieves took home a Gold medal. Though there have been challenges to overcome this year, she has not stopped training and working to defend her title in the upcoming Tokyo 2022 games.
Away from the court:
Nieves is the owner, founder, and creator of Limitless People Inc., and organization that aims to give people the opportunity to learn and play volleyball that might otherwise not be able to. She is passionate about speaking out topics such as inclusion and mental health and aims to be a role model anyone can look up to.
In their own words:
“It’s okay to be different, it’s okay not to have a hand, it’s okay to perform your skill differently and find out how to do it and for people to look at you because they do think you are inspirational.”
“I know I can do it because I’m not looking at this stuff as an individual with only one hand, but it’s more to prove people wrong. It’s just one of those things, kind of like don’t tempt me and don’t test me because I’m going to prove you wrong.”
“Just even moving from traditional to sitting volleyball, you don’t want to be recognized as a girl with one hand that’s playing the sport. I want to be looked at as the girl that is averaging so many kills per game.”
Team USA Page
Limitless People: “One girl, One dream”
En Fuego Now: “Gold Medal Winner Nicky Nieves is Taking on All the Doubters”
Olympics Tokyo 2020: “Nicky Nieves: Mental health and sports go hand in hand”
New York Post: “QC women’s volleyball player overcomes disability”
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