“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

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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

The Classification of Disability by John Young

Image of John Young exiting the swim at a triathlon.

John Young exiting the swim at the Toronto Triathlon Festival.

As many paratriathletes are aware, paratriathlon will be included in the Paralympics in Rio in 2016.  Already, teams are starting to get ramped-up, and athletes are continuing to train in the hopes of representing their country in 4 years on an international stage.  Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the world as it is one of the only ones where both amateur and professional often race on the same course at the same time.  Like-wise paratriathlon is growing with both athletes who have been physically challenged since birth or childhood along with athletes who became disabled later in life either from an accident, injury during war, or some condition they acquired. 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