Living and Lifestyle

Zina Garrison flees flooded house with Olympic medals

When it looked like tennis champion Zina Garrison would have to leave her house because of rising water, she grabbed her dog Sochi and some clothes.

She loaded her car, then paused for a second.

She had to go back few more things: her Olympic medals and a book of Maya Angelou’s poetry and painter John Biggers’ artwork that was autographed by Angelou.

Everything else she could leave.


“I knew I could replace the rest,” said Garrison, who was a doubles gold medalist and singles bronze medalist at the 1988 Olympic Games.

Leaving her home near Sienna Plantation to stay with her sister wasn’t the hardest part, she said.
During the storm, Garrison’s nephew needed his regular dialysis treatment and couldn’t get to his treatment center. Her sister tried to drive through water to get to a Pearland hospital only to be rescued from flooding water. They were taken to multi-shelters before he was able be treated.
“There needs to be a central place for people who need dialysis to go in a natural disaster. We have to think of them first. Sheila Jackson Lee is probably tired of hearing form me but the impact and stress this has on the families is unbelievable,” Garrison said.

Garrison said she wanted to raise awareness about the issue, while also providing a stress-relief for kids impacted by the storm.

She held a mini tennis clinic for children were sheltering at the George R. Brown Convention Center during the weekend. She also held a tennis clinic at Windsor Village Church with 25-30 kids on Friday.

“It takes away so much stress from the kids just be able to run around. It’s going to take some time to rebound, especially for kids. We can handle the stress and talk it out. They don’t know where to go.”

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