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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Catching up with Kim Glass

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Kim Glass is a celebrity athlete, but she doesn’t act like one.

With an Olympic silver medal and an appearance in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition leading to her widespread notoriety, she’s still surprised and gracious that people know her name.

The former Arizona volleyball outside hitter, who played at UA from 2002-06, returned to Tucson last Friday to be inducted into the 2011 UA Sports Hall of Fame. Arizona also retired her No. 86 jersey during the Oregon State match that night.

Unlike other athletes who are blocked off by managers, publicists and guards, the 6-foot-3 outside hitter happily welcomed the mobs of children — and men — who wanted to meet her during the Homecoming Weekend.

In between being mobbed, homecoming festivities and getting ready to leave for overseas, Glass made some time to catch up with the Daily Wildcat.

Daily Wildcat: Is there any significance behind your jersey number 86?

Kim Glass: I went into a coma when I was 2 years old, and it was really a rough time for my family. My mom tells me stories about all of it. My uncle came in and prayed over me, and he kind of spoke in tongues. A little bit later on, I woke up and my first word was “eat!” And for everyone who knows me, you know, I just love to eat. (Laughs) Yeah that’s a problem.

So is 86 the number of days you were in a coma?

No, it was in the year — 1986. For my mom it was an emotional time for her. She has put so much into my career and sacrificed so much and I know how much that meant to her. The significance of 86 is, I couldn’t be here, I could not have woken up. I could be a vegetable. I could be off this planet. And for me, it reminds me that whenever I go through a hard time or a good time that the glory goes to God. When I’m even going through those hard times, I even got it tattooed here (points to 86 on her wrist). It just brings me back to remember, no matter how hard it gets and no matter how much you want to stray, you always give back to God. It’s also to remember I’m here for a reason.

Would you describe yourself as superstitious then, do you have any mandatory pregame rituals?

I have to take a bath. I like to sleep for a certain amount of time, and I’ve got to meditate and pray. I have to listen to a certain mix before games. I’ve switched it up. So yes, a little superstitious. (Laughs)

Please tell us about how you got involved with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

I was really lucky. They contacted someone from USA Volleyball and he contacted me, and after the first question I wrote back ‘yes’ right away! Why would you say no to that? They chose me, we went to Canada and it was so awesome. I was in 30-degree water. It was really cool, because when I younger, I used to want to model, and I’m not a model, but it was fun doing it. And in addition to that, I feel like there’s not a lot of black women that really make that catalog, and even though I got it via volleyball, it’s still an honor for me.

How did your friends and family react to the spread?

I think it’s classy. I live in a Muslim country Azerbaijan, and they’re like, ‘so what do your parents think about this?’ You know, as long as my mom thinks it’s OK and tactful, then I’m OK with it. I’m not ashamed of it, there was nothing disgusting about it and I think the human body is beautiful. One day, I can tell my kids when I’m old and wrinkly, ‘That’s your mom. Yep, I was in there — top that.’ (Laughs)

Where do you stand right now for the upcoming Olympic games?

I’m trying out just like everybody else. When I come back from overseas, I still have another chance to try out for the team, so I’ll know probably two weeks before or a week before the Olympics. That’s when you typically know.

And tell us a little about where you’re going overseas?

I’m going to Baku, Azerbaijan, and I play Rugby there. We have a really good team, second in championships last year, and we won our league. Our league is getting stronger and stronger, and I like it over there.

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