Racing with Care2Tri Through the Eyes of a Differently-Abled Person by Alan Rodriguez

My name is Alan Rodriguez, I have Wilson’s Disease and I would like to express what it was like for me participating in the Gasparilla Distance Classic weekend with Care2Tri.

I’m a professional photographer and the official photographer for Care2Tri. I have been photographing every event/race that Care2Tri has been to now for about two years from an outsider’s perspective.

Photo of a cyclist pulling someone in a trailer on a bike

For me as of late, covering from an outsider’s point of view was starting to feel a little monotonous. A few weeks ago Greg mentioned to me that the next coming race is Gasparilla and so asked me; “Alan, would you be willing to participate in the race?” I told him not really because I can’t run that long. He said “I mean, would you mind if I pushed you through the race?” I thought to myself “Here’s an opportunity for a different perspective that I was looking for that I could capture in pictures, this is perfect!” So I said “Yes, I’ll do it.” Continue reading

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Update about ‘International Triathlon Union (ITU): Remove the “Black Out Glasses” Rule for TRI6 Paratriathletes.’ on Change.org

***Sharing the email of Victory that was sent today from the petition on change.org***

Image a pair of black out glasses with the no symbol over them

They are GONE!

When we began this petition we wanted the voices of our community heard and heard you WERE! We never believed that in such a short period of time, we would see this change happen, but it has – because of YOU!

The ITU released this message today:

ITU would like to make you aware of recent updates to the 2013 ITU Competition Rules concerning changes to TRI-6 division of paratriathlon.

Following consultation with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC),the existing TRI-6 class will be divided into two categories for the 2013 season, as follows:

TRI-6a: For totally blind athletes (existing profile 36 and IBSA/IPC B1)

TRI-6b: For the balance of athletes with a visual impairment (current profiles 37a and 37b or IBSA/IPC B2 and B3) Continue reading

“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby”? NOT! (If you are Visually Impaired) by Diane Berberian

Image a pair of black out glasses with the no symbol over themFact: 44 years of participation in athletics and organized sports and I was already in college when the Title IX movement happened (women’s equality). Call me naive, but I did not imagine that this many years later I would be experiencing a new form of prejudice. I am Visually Impaired and I want to be included in the sport of triathlon!

So what is bothering me? I am visually impaired (legally blind) and I want to compete with my peers. However, to compete in a Paratriathlon Championship event, I will be asked to wear BLACK OUT GLASSES. When I refuse to wear the glasses, I am placed in a category called Open Physically Challenged. I want my name in the results and I want to know where I rank (even if last)! Continue reading

The Art of Advertising by Jan Ditchfield

(This blog post is personal. They are my real thoughts. Mine and mine alone.)

Advertising is the art of making whole lies out of half truths.  ~Edgar A. Shoaff

It stands to reason that coming out of a Paralympic year we’d see an increase in mainstream advertising using persons with disabilities in commercials and print campaigns. This year my feeds were inundated with spots, ads and conversations about equality and mainstream recognition. Working in the world of para, you tend to seek out examples of this and get lost in the belief that if you are seeing it, then everyone must be; positive examples of persons with disabilities. What we tend to forget is that we have knowledge of this industry and the community which the average viewer doesn’t. We’re actively seeking out this information instead of waiting for it to be presented to us. The average viewer isn’t doing the same. We have knowledge on the backgrounds of the talent who have been cast. The average viewer doesn’t. It’s the average viewer that mainstream advertising is targeting, not those of us who are already converted. And when you step outside of our circle and look at the use of persons with a disability in marketing campaigns from that vantage point, you are greeted with a shockingly different perspective. Continue reading

Pig First Language Please! by Leona Emberson

At a communal breakfast table at a farmers market, I observed a conversation that gave me a chuckle, and later got me thinking. A little girl at the table started to talk about her pet potbelly pig, and how funny he was. In response, a woman told the girl of her childhood pet pig. The woman said her pig was “all white, no pink at all. She was an albino pig”. I put down my coffee, looked towards the two, and resisted the urge to take off my hat, let my white blond hair flow down, and tell the woman to use Pig First Language!

This endearing childhood pet deserved to be remembered for being a pig! A pig who loved to eat apple cores. A pig who rolled in the mud. A pig who had the cutest little Oink. A pig who had albinism. A pig who first and foremost, was a pig! Continue reading

GIVE UP, GIVE IN, OR GIVE IT ALL YOU’VE GOT by Jan Ditchfield

(This blog post is personal. They are my real thoughts. Mine and mine alone.)

Image of Brian Cowie and Jan Ditchfield

With Brian Cowie at 70.3 Worlds in Clearwater 2010.

I have been asked a million times since I began working in my field why I do what I do and why as an able-bodied person I made my career advocating for persons with disabilities. I’ve answered it the same way a million times; “It’s not about me, so it doesn’t really matter why.”

I’ve stuck with that same line for almost ten years now, but more and more I have been thinking about the “why”. Not why I do it or why I started. But why I stay. Continue reading

Para-Sports: My Second Chance at High Level Sports By Dave Carragher

Image of Dave Carragher and his guide running to the finish line at Paratriathlon Nationals

Dave Carragher and his guide, Carl Burgess completing the Sprint triathlon for Silver at the Paratriathlon Nationals in Kelowna, BC.

As I rode my bike down the street, or went for a run or a swim as a sighted person, no one thought anything about it. I was just seen as an active kid. As a sighted athlete, I was just another guy on the team; not a superstar by any means.

I know everyone has their place, but like many other athletes, I also realized in able-bodied sports the childhood dreams of making the pros was definitely not a realistic goal for me as my sight began to fade.

Now after I have lost my vision and I have been given the opportunities to get back into sports, my dream of being able to make the Olympic team has been restored. Only now I will have the chance to compete at the Paralympics; where I will be able to compete against other visually impaired athletes instead of fully sighted athletes as I did when I was younger and going through the process of losing my vision. Continue reading

Supporting my Paralympian Friends; It shouldn’t be this hard by Leona Emberson

I am blessed to have a number of inspiring and motivating Paralympians in my life who I call my friends. Some of them I have known since I was in high school, and some I have gotten to know in recent years. I have had the honour of playing goalball with and against the members of the Canadian Women’s Goalball team. I have run on the same path, although a few paces behind, members of the Canadian ParaAthletics track team. These experiences have helped me gain respect for them, and their counterparts as athletes.

What has had a more significant impact on my life has been the time I have spent with these friends out of the sports venue. The time in the coffee shop chatting, or in a theater watching a movie. The time we sit in each others living rooms playing cards or relaxing in front of the television. We have been with each other for graduations, weddings, and first jobs. We have been with each other as we have developed as athletes, and into adults. Continue reading

Swim, bike, run, Paratriathlete by John Young

LP Paratriathlete John Young exiting the Hudson River at the NYC Triathlon

LP Paratriathlete John Young exiting the Hudson River at the NYC Triathlon in 2012

As far as I know, I am the only dwarf who has completed a triathlon. Maybe I’m not, but at least I have never been able to find another like-minded little person (LP). In the recent months I have had two members of the LP community contact me stating that they are training to complete their first triathlons later this summer. This past July I returned to NYC to race in the NYC Triathlon. As a new member of Achilles International, I race with other physically challenged athletes on the same course with able-bodied age group athletes and pros as well. The race itself was a challenge as most triathlons are. It includes a 0.9-mile swim in the Hudson River, a 26-mile cycle up and down the West Side Highway and then a 6-mile run up 72nd Street into and around Central Park. I had a terrific day on the course as the fan support in NYC is amazing.

On occasion, I search the Internet in order to try and find other short-statured people interested in multi-sports. I do so by entering phrases like “dwarf triathlete,” “dwarf cyclist” into search engines. The results I usually find are related to my own blog or online stories about me. Continue reading