|Photograph courtesy of Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics.|
This is no feel-good story, and no Paralympic athlete would tell you it should be. Our culture, so oriented toward “normal, able” bodies, usually relegates elite athletes with
disabilities to the “heartwarming” human-interest backwaters of the 6:00 news and the “Community Living” sections of local papers. They’re beneath the notice of C-SPAN, and if they make the news, it’s often because they’re considered novel for competing at all while having a limb difference, neurological disorder, blindness, or other disability. They’re also relegated to competing in second-
and third-tier venues, which their fans rarely fill. According to The New York Times, until they reach international competition, they generally lack the scholarships, sponsorships, and other support oftentimes garnered by slower, lower-scoring, able-bodied cohorts. The actual scope of their skill and dedication becomes shadowed by their disability.