Disabled? Watch This And You Won’t Think So.

Further proof that people categorized as “disabled” can be amazingly talented and easily surpass the skills of those categorized as “abled”. Continue reading

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NY Times article: This Journey Began Before Starting Line

Photo of Nadine McNeil embracing her 18-year-old son, Tyler.  Nadine McNeil will compete in her fourth marathon, but it will be the first for Tyler.  Photo by Rob Bennett for the New York Times

By CHARLES WILSON

Published: October 31, 2008

Nadine McNeil will reach the crest of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on her handcycle soon after 7:30 Sunday morning. Moments later, she will roll swiftly past her 18-year-old son, Tyler, who is autistic. This will be her fourth marathon, and Tyler’s first. She has grown uneasy this week thinking of the moment when she will leave him behind.  “I can’t look back,” she said. “For 18 years, I’ve always known every moment where Tyler is. On Sunday, I won’t.”

Though joint parent-child appearances in the New York City Marathon are not uncommon — Rod Dixon, the race’s 1983 champion, is returning this year to run the race with his daughter — the path that brought Nadine, 42, and Tyler to the marathon is an unlikely one. Nadine had a stroke when she was 8 and lost the use of her right arm and her right leg. Tyler, her only child, is severely speech-delayed. Even now at 6 feet 4 inches, he communicates verbally by using one or two words at a time.

Nadine has poured her life into her son. Tyler, in turn, is what she calls “my right arm.” He compensates for her disabilities by tying her shoes. He does her buttons and zippers. If she tries to put on her coat, he will immediately rush to her side and gently lift her right arm into the sleeve.  Neither would have ever made it to this year’s starting line without the other.  Read the entire article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/01/sports/othersports/01marathon.html?th&emc=th

Canadians sweep podium in Paralympic pool

TheStar.com/Toronto Star

September 7, 2008

THE CANADIAN PRESS

BEIJING – Valerie Grand’Maison got Canada off to a flying start at the Paralympics, leading a podium sweep in the 100-metre butterfly for the visually impaired on the opening day of competition.

Cyclist Jean Quevillon captured Canada’s first medal of the Games earlier in the day, a bronze in the men’s individual pursuit for cerebral palsy athletes.

Grand’Maison, from Longueuil, Que., Kirby Cote of Winnipeg and Chelsea Gotell of Antigonish, N.S., finished 1-2-3 in the butterfly. The 19-year-old Grand’Maison clocked a Canadian record one minute 6.49 seconds in her Games debut, less than a second off the 12-year-old world record.

“I’m so happy, I’m speechless right now,” said Grand’Maison, who won five gold medals at the 2006 world championships. “It’s a dream come true. Every single morning I have thought about winning Paralympic gold and it has now finally happened.   “And it was extra special to share the podium with my teammates. It’s a proud moment for us.”

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NY TIMES article: Amputee Seeks Medal and to Master a Rival

Feeling good never felt more infuriating. Marlon Shirley, the world’s premier amputee sprinter, woke up July 3 with no pain in his knee — not from the half-dozen recent operations, not from the staph infections, not from other problems still lurking in there — for the first time in months. Yet all he could think of was: It’s too late now. I can’t be ready in time.

Marlon Shirley, above in the Netherlands in 2006, has two Paralympic golds in the 100 meters.
photo by Fred Ernst/Associated Press

Ready or not, Monday morning at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, Shirley will blast from the blocks and run what he calls the race of his life — the 100-meter sprint in the Paralympics, the Olympics for disabled athletes, which opened Saturday. It might become the last race of his life, because for all he knows, his knee will explode somewhere around the 70-meter mark. But two months after assuming he would never race in Beijing, at least he would fail trying.

Read the full story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/sports/othersports/07sprinter.html

China Back on Global Sports Stage

China welcomed world leaders for the opening ceremony of the Paralympics in Beijing on Saturday, eager for another chance to cement its role as a global player to an international audience.

The guest list included President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, President Horst Köhler of Germany and Prime Minister Han Seung-soo of South Korea.

Read the full story here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/sports/othersports/07paralympics.html

NY Times article: For Paralympians Around World, Assistance Varies

 By JOSHUA ROBINSON and ALAN SCHWARZ

Published: September 5, 2008

Every nation, because of how sports programs and health-care systems are structured, has a different method of financing its national-team athletes for the Olympics and the Paralympics. A sampling: Continue reading

Paralympic Athletes Add Equality to Their Goals

Published: September 5, 2008

AURORA, Ill. — When he rolls to the starting line for the 1,500-meter wheelchair race at the Paralympics, the Olympics for disabled athletes that begin Saturday in Beijing, Tony Iniguez will wear his Team USA uniform with pride. He will compete for the United States’s Olympic program. He is also suing it for discrimination.
Paralympic athlete Tony Iniguez worked out at the East Aurora High School track in July.
photo by Peter Wynn Thompson for The New York Times

Iniguez is one of many Paralympians who criticize the United States Olympic Committee for providing less direct financial assistance and other benefits at lower levels to Paralympic athletes than to Olympians in comparable sports. The committee awards smaller quarterly training stipends and medal bonuses to Paralympic athletes. Benefits like free health insurance, which help athletes devote more hours to training, are available to a smaller percentage of Paralympians. Continue reading