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

Finding Hope in Haiti by Brian Cowie

Photo of Brian Cowie with his tandem and wearing a Canadain jersey

The Canadian Stoker

On November 30th of last year I received an email from Jan Ditchfield; friend, agent and President of PARA-Promotions, asking me if I would be interested in doing a race in Haiti. Seems a colleague of hers, Eric Miller, founder of the Rush-Miller Foundation (an organization that donates tandem bikes to visually impaired kids throughout the US and also internationally) was looking for a stoker who might be interested in this challenge. Haiti huh……sounds interesting. Never been to Haiti. Always looking for new places to race.

“Yah, I’m in. When is it?” 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

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

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

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