Through Difficulties to the Stars We recognize Olympians with a disability, past and present
Sir Philip Craven Sir Philip is a British sports administrator and a former athlete. He is the second and current President of the International Paralympic Committee. He represented Great Britain in wheelchair basketball at 5 editions of the Paralympic games and also competed in track and field and swimming. He won many medals at these games. Sir Philip broke his back in a climbing accident when he was 17. Sources: widipedia.com and independent.co.uk
Natalie Du Toit Natalie is a 28 year old swimmer from South Africa. First amputee ever to qualify for the Olympics in 2008. She has won many medals competing against able- bodied athletes at national and international competitions. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics and Physiology. Natalie carried her country’s flag at the 2008 Olympics ceremony, making it the first athlete to carry a flag in both Olympics and Paralympics in a single year. Source: Wikipedia.com
Marla Runyan Legally blind as a result of Stargardt’s disease, Marla had already won five gold medals in the Paralympics when she qualified for the US team at 1,500 meters at the Athens Olympics. She placed eighth in the final. Marla won many marathons, such as the New York Marathon in 2002, as well as many international competitions against able- bodied and in a variety of track and field events. Source: Wikipedia.com
Michael Phelps Michael Fred Phelps II is an American swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all times with a total of 22 medals. He also holds the all-time record for Olympic Gold medals (18), Olympic Gold medals in an individual event (11), and Olympic medals in individual event for a male (13), and most first-place finishes (8) at an Olympic Game in 2008. Phelps was diagnosed with Attention- Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when he was in 6th grade. Source: Wikipedia.com
Oscar Pistorius Oscar is a South African sprint runner who has double below-knee amputations. His flex-foot cheetah prostheses, although controversial, have allowed him to compete in the Olympics and Paralympics Games. He has won many medals and holds records for the 100 m (T44). Affectionately known as “the fastest man on no legs.” Source: Wikipedia.com
Natalia PartykaNatalia is a Polish tabletennis player. Bornwithout a right hand andforearm, she participatesin competitions againstable-bodied athletes.She has competed in 3consecutive Olympic andParalympic games,where she won gold andsilver medals inindividual and paircompetition.
David SmithDavid is a 28 year old, middleblocker for the male USAVolleyball Team. Has helpedhis team win many nationaland international medals andparticipated in the 2012London games. He isconsidered to be one of thebest blockers the US team hasever had. David has 90%hearing loss. Source: teamusa.org
Im Dong-HyunIm is a South Koreanarcher who is visuallyimpaired in botheyes. He has setnumerous worldrecords in the rankingrounds and hassuccessfullyparticipated in thelast 3 Olympic games.He was gold medalistin the 2008 and 2012Olympic games.
Bruce Jenner Once known as “the world’s greatest athlete,” Bruce was an American champion in the decathlon and won a gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics, setting a world record of 8,934 points. Jenner is also well known as a motivational speaker and on TV as part of the Kardashian family. Jenner is dyslexic. Source: Wikipedia.com and brucejenner.com
Carl LewisCarl was an Americantrack and field athlete,who won 10 Olympicmedals, and 10 WorldChampionship medals.He was mostly known asa sprinter and longjumper. He had alearning disability.
Jean Driscoll Jean is an American wheelchair racer, who won this division at the Boston Marathon 8 times, more than any other female athlete in any division. In the Paralympic games she also won many medals in various events. She was born with spina bifida and began using a wheelchair in high school.
Paola Fantato Paola is an Italian archer, who won 8 medals (5 gold) at 5 consecutive Summer Paralympic games. At age 8, she was afflicted with poliomyelitis and was bound to a wheelchair since. She also competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics where she won bronze in women’s individual and gold in women’s team. Source: Wikipedia.com
Miranda Uhl Miranda is an American Paralympic swimmer, who won a gold medal at the 2008 summer games and broke the world record on 200 m individual medley. She was born with achondroplasia, which restricts the growth of her limbs. She currently trains and attends classes at Florida Atlantic University. Sources: wikipedia.com And fau.edu
Matt Stutzman Known as “the armless archer,” Matt was born without arms. He won silver at the 2012 Paralympic games. He currently holds the world record, even among able- bodied archers, for the longest accurate shot, having successfully struck a target from 230 yards in 2011. Sources: telegraph.co.uk and inspirationalarcher.com
George Eyser George was a German- American gymnast who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics, earning six medals in one day, including 3 golds and 2 silvers. He competed with a wooden prosthesis for a left leg, having lost his real leg after being run over by a train. Source: widipedia.com
Oliver Halassy Oliver was a Hungarian water polo player and freestyle swimmer who competed in the 1928, 1932, and 1936 Olympic games. He won one silver and 2 gold medals at the Olympics. He was the first amputee swimmer to compete in the Olympics. Oliver lost his leg at age 8 in an accident. Source: wikipedia.com
Lis HartelLis was an equestrian who wontwo Olympic silver medals forDenmark in the 1950s despitebeing paralyzed below the kneesbecause of Polio. She wonmany national and internationalcompetitions and was namedone of Denmark’s all-time top 10athletes in 2005.Together with her therapist, Lisfounded Europe’s firstTherapeutic Riding Center. Thisform of therapy is now widelyaccepted as an invaluable tool.Source: simplymarvelous.wordpress.com
Ildikó RejtöIldikó was a Hungarian foilfencer who was born deaf.She communicated with hertrainers using pieces of paper.Ildikó competed in fiveOlympics, earning 2 goldmedals, 1 silver and 2 bronzes.She also holds the unusualdistinction of being the onlySummer Olympian to winmedals using three differentnames, having married twiceduring her Olympic career. Source: wikipedia.com
Jeff FloatJeff is an Americanswimmer, world recordholder, World Champion,and Olympic gold medalist.At 13 months of age, helost most of his hearingand nearly his life to viralmeningitis. He is the firstlegally deaf athlete fromthe United States to win anOlympic gold medal. Source: wikipedia.com
Neroli Fairhall Neroli was a New Zealand athlete, who was the first paraplegic competitor in the Olympic games. Paralyzed from the waist down after a motorbike accident, she competed while seated in a wheelchair. She was also a national champion for many years and won many international competitions Source: wikipedia.com
Terence ParkinTerence is a South Africansilver-medal-winner, who is100% deaf since birth, so astrobe light was used tocommunicate to him thestart of the race. He alsocompeted in the 2004Summer Olympics, as wellas the 2005 Deaflympics inwhich he took home twogold medals. In 2011, hesaved a young boy fromdrowning. Source: widipedia.com