Emmy Kaiser doesn’t wait for someone to tell her what to do.
Emmy is a free spirit who follows the dictates of her own mind, a very motivated person and a Paralympic tennis star.
Emmy is about to travel to Tokyo to compete in her third Paralympic Games, her first in London and her second in Rio.
Although she did not win a medal in either of her first two Paralympic competitions, she was once considered the eleventh best Paralympic tennis player in the world and was number one in the United States.
Emmy has spina bifida, and she excels at exercise from a wheelchair.
As a child, she played several sports but showed a little more interest in tennis and ballet. As an adult, she competed in doubles races in Winton Woods, Cincinnati.
Emmy attended the Blessed Sacrament School in Ft. Mitchell and then attended St. Henry High School in Erlanger.
She went to college and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree. She completed her studies in sport and movement psychology.
Emmy has been impressed by athletes from time to time, but it’s basically just one of many thoughts that goes through her very active brain.
“When I was little I was impressed by Esther Vergeer,” said Emmy of a Dutch wheelchair tennis player who retired in 2013. “I mean, who wouldn’t be, with a winning streak of 470 games that lasted ten years and eight years of Paralympic medals. But I don’t think I have a role model now.”
In addition to the Paralympics, Emmy was at the Parapan American Games in Toronto in 2015, where she reached the semi-finals in doubles and singles, and in 2011 in Guadalajara, where she won gold in doubles and silver in singles. From 2009 to 2016 she was a World Cup team member every year.
Emmy has been to 29 countries.
“London was my first Paralympic Games and it was wonderful,” she said. “I really enjoyed the whole experience of being in England, meeting other participants, immersing myself in his sport, competitions and people watching.”
This year’s Paralympics will not have any crowds in the stands due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which Kaiser regrets because she sees that the crowd enriches the experience.
But she will be busy without much time to relax. She trains in Alabama before heading to the Paralympics, which begin on August 24th.
She has an exercise bike at home, two trainers, and a couple of stroke partners who work with her.
She also has a couple of different jobs despite being a full-time professional athlete. She is a substitute teacher at St. Henry and trains both handicapped and wheelchair tennis at the Blue Ash Recreation Center and the Cincinnati Tennis Foundation.
“Babalot Raquet Company supports me and provides me with tennis equipment,” said Emmy. “You are wonderful. But here in the United States, nobody really pays attention to the Paralympics. You rarely see them on TV like the regular Olympics. What Babalot doesn’t give me, of course, I have to pay for, like my travel, living expenses and chair, and I have to work to pay for that. “
When she’s free, Kaiser reads or skype with her boyfriend since he lives in Austin, Texas. She also hopes to move there.
Emmy’s ideal career goal would be to train wheelchair tennis at a university.
Emmy likes to talk to younger children and share her life mantra with them, which is, “Play the cards that are dealt to you.”
“You can’t choose the cards that are dealt to you, but you can choose how to play them,” she explained. “I could have stayed in Cincinnati and worked at a bank. I could have become a teacher like my mother and sister.
-Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor