PyeongChang’s Winter Olympics is just a memory and now it’s time for the Paralympians to show what they can do.
Among those competing this year, to the best of my knowledge, there are three hero Paralympians who have multiple sclerosis. There may be more but these are the three I know about – if you know of anyone else, please let me know.
People who take part in the Paralympics, must have a disability, but not just any disability. To qualify, it has to be one of 10 types. Potential competitors’ disabilities are measured to enable the athletes to be classified. This is do they take part in events, competing against fellow athletes with the same or similar disabilities.
Danelle Umstead was competing as a USA Paralympian before she received the diagnosis that she has MS. This is because she lost her sight due to retinitis pigmentosa when she was just 13 years old.
She took up skiing when she was 29. Ten years later, she won two bronze medals, in downhill and super-combined, at the 2010 Paralympic games. After that, it was not long before she learned she had MS.
Handling the effects of two disabilities, she won on to win bronze medal in the super-combined at Sochi in 2014-
This time round Danelle is down to compete in no less than five skiing events. These are the downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G and super-combined.
Hugh Nibloe is to make debut at this year’s Paralympics in PyeongChang, as a member of Great Britain’s wheelchair curling team.
He has been an athlete for many years. He played rugby until he was given the diagnosis that he had MS, when he was 24. That was 12 years ago,
It is reported that he said. “What has always stuck with me is not having any regrets. Don’t sit there thinking what you could have done or should have done. It was always about trying and keeping working hard.”
Cecile Hernandez-Cervellon is a para snowboarder competing for France. She received her MS diagnosis in 2002, the same year as me but there the similarity ends. Before that diagnosis, she was a BMX rider the switched to snowboarding as she found it gave her a similar feeling.
At Sochi, she won a silver medal in para snowboarding and she is trying to go one better in PyeongChang.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.
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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.