“The first and last Games are especially memorable but Beijing definitely stands out. It was so huge to walk into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony as flag bearer, with my dad."
Seven-time Paralympian and four-time Paralympic medallist, Jen Armbruster has announced her retirement from goalball.
“It has been an honour and privilege to represent the United States of America at seven Paralympic Summer Games and a number of World Championships and Pan Am Games,” Armbruster said in an email announcing her retirement.
Initially introduced to the Paralympic sport of goalball in 1990, Armbruster has been a pillar of the U.S. Women’s Goalball program since she began training with the National team shortly after she was introduced to the sport. She competed in her first Paralympic Games in 1992. She was part of Team USA again at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games where the Women’s Team earned bronze on home soil. In 2004, Armbruster helped the team win silver and at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, after she was elected flag bearer by all of the U.S. Paralympic team, Armbruster and her team became Paralympic champions when they beat China in the gold medal game.
“The first and last Games are especially memorable but Beijing definitely stands out,” Armbruster told USABA, reflecting on most impactful moments in her athletic career. “It was so huge to walk into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony as flag bearer, with my dad. And then being part of the team of six ladies and three staff that were after the same goal.”
“Rio was highly emotional too,” said Armbruster. “I know that would probably be my last Games. And again, it was with my dad.”
Her father, Ken Armbruster, served as Head Coach for the U.S. Women’s Goalball Team from 1996 to 2016.
“Jen was a member of every team I coached,” said Ken Armbruster. “The success of both the USA National Team and the Colorado Bandits over the years are a credit to both her athletic talent and leadership. As parents, Linda and I could not be prouder of her many accomplishments both on and off the court.”
Armbruster’s involvement in the sport won’t stop just because she’s stepping off the competitive court as an athlete though.
“We have a youth tournament coming up in a few weeks,” she said. “I plan to stay involved with the PSU collegiate team and offer opportunities for them to continue to develop. I’ll keep helping local teams too.”
She also looks forward to life outside of sport.
“Ryder (son), is six now. He’s playing t-ball and other activities. I want to refocus on balance. I was fortunate growing up in a military family that my parents were able to be there. I want to be there for Ryder.”
“I’ll always be involved in goalball though. It’s a big part of my life.”
The full story can be found on the United States Association of Blind Athletes' website.