An aspiring athlete not permitted to compete in Paralympic World Swimming Championships because she may be able to walk again is a travesty.
Victoria Arlen, an 18-year-old gold-medal winner and world record holder, was not permitted to participate in the championships or any future competitions, because she is not permanently disabled as described by the International Paralympic Committee. Arlen was in Montreal for the start of the world swimming championships and informed by the committee's decision.
Arlen was paralyzed from the waist down seven years ago due to a rare neurological disorder of the spinal cord called transverse myelitis. She was in a coma more than two years and now uses a wheelchair and regained her love of competitive swimming at 16.
In the 2012 Paralympics held in London she set a world record and won a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle competition. The IPC ruled Ms. Arlen could not provide conclusive material of a permanent physical impairment. A deeper investigation found the above discrepancies were the reasoning for the bar from competition issued for 2013 championships.
Ms. Arlen was a recently runner-up for Best Female Athlete with a Disability at the ESPYs awards.
When life-altering injury hinders an athlete from competing is tragic beyond comprehension, but not permit that athlete to challenge their physical inability due to a judgment of mere officials is more tragic. Athletes push their bodies and minds each day to their fullest extent possible, but a paralyzed competitor must deal with more issues than a healthy athlete.
Youngsters need to find mentor's in to basis their level of achievements in sport and life. Ms. Arlen is just the type of athlete, teenager and mentor I would like my kids to admire in life.
The News and Sentinel Half Marathon encourages all-types of athletes to challenge their abilities each year. Some competitors will strive to finish to half marathon by running or walking or trim down the distance to the shorter 2-mile course. Whatever the distance or method of competition a participant can find some sort of satisfaction after completing the race.
Aspiring athletes with the drive of Ms. Arlen are difficult to find in today's society. We should harness her spirit, tenacity and goodwill for life.
Faithful fans wanted change in the sport and some thought it was too country and too unsophisticated. Officials have put more emphasis on winning a race and finishing up front. The quality of TV broadcasting has hurt in-person attendance. To bring people back to the track a level of excitement is needed.
Wheeler's words reflect my feelings for this sport as a true faithful fan.