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Road to Victory Began in Tragedy

Road to Victory Began in Tragedy
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Road to Victory Began in Tragedy

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Road to Victory Began in Tragedy

Freak mishap cost Jami Goldman her feet, but now she holds world titles in track.

April 01, 2000|JIM HOLLANDER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Her Adidas commercial shows a young woman running, loudly huffing and puffing, brown hair tied back, sweat beading on her brow. The celebrity it brings her symbolizes for Jami Goldman that, as an athlete, she has arrived.

The 31-year-old Huntington Beach resident began competitive running less than three years ago, and already owns world records in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes.

Her good fortune has been especially bountiful in the last year. She set the three world marks during a series of international races. She stands a good chance of running for her country this summer in Sydney, Australia.

“I am the fastest T43 track runner in the world,” she says matter-of-factly, referring to her category of below-knee, double amputee. “It’s an amazing feeling. It’s not something I would have ever thought would be part of my life.”

And who would? Who could imagine that one moment you’re driving home from a holiday ski trip with a friend, in a hurry to get her to work on time, and the next moment your car is stuck in a snowbank during a Christmas blizzard on a road that is not being patrolled? One day Goldman was a fit 19-year-old freshman at Arizona State University, studying communications and perfecting her downhill skiing skills.

Weeks later, she would be a T43. Years later, she would be a world-class runner.

For Goldman, it is impossible to separate her achievements from what happened Dec. 23, 1987, the day her life made a turn down the wrong road.

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