The Biggest Misconceptions About Paralympic Athletes | Start Your Impossible | NowThis
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The Biggest Misconceptions About Paralympic Athletes | Start Your Impossible | NowThis

November 15, 2019


I think the biggest misconception about Paralympic
athletes is we’re not as good as able-bodied athletes. That Para-athletes aren’t real athletes or that
the competition is low. That we aren’t competitive. That we can’t compete to the same level. I think a lot of people at home watching the
racing think ‘Ah it’s wonderful, these kids with disabilities they’re out there being able
to ski the same as able-bodied skiers.’ All the kids are like ‘Oh my god, you’re
such an inspiration,’ when it’s just my life. I really don’t mean to sound harsh. It’s the fact that sometimes a lot of people perceive the Paralympians as social cases in a way, and just like trying
to make others feel better about themselves, which is really not the case. I think there’s this whole thing where they just see us as disabled and don’t see us as people who can do more. They’re full-time, 100% dedicated athletes, who often train way much more than able-bodied athletes. Every single time you get to a person, it’s
like ‘Oh poor you and what you have gone through.’ That’s literally the only thing that drives
me crazy in my life of ski racing, being a disabled woman and athlete. You can’t even put your own groceries away
without someone sighing ‘I’m so sorry’… And you doing 60mph? Yes! Do you see what I do?! Groceries are okay! This sport is as intensely competitive as
any sport on the planet — able-bodied, paralympic, or whatever. The Paralympics and skiing just kind of gives us another way to show everyone we can do a lot more than just be in a wheelchair or roll around or do nothing
really. I think when people hear that I’m a visually
impaired Paralympic athlete, I don’t think they realize I’m a true athlete. I have to work hard. You know it’s a 24/7 job. I think common misconceptions are that all the athletes
have had unluck in life and they’ve been struck by disability, but in reality these
are great people. They’re fighters, they are stronger, faster than any one of us, and probably mentally also stronger than any
of us. We should not think they are in any way disabled. We work just as hard, we work side by side,
and that’s what I want people to know. We’ve all overcome different things to be
here. Unfortunately I was born with one arm, but
I’m here to ski on plastic poles as fast as I can, whether that’s with one arm or
any other way. That’s my job, and that’s what I love
to do. It’s very, very interesting and very exciting
to watch so many unique people try to maneuver this race course that seems impossible. But everyone overcomes it and it’s very
exciting to watch them succeed as well.

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