SOURCE: Steven Holcomb Olympian
DENVER, CO--(Marketwire - Sep 19, 2012) - As the 2012 Summer Olympics came to a close, most of the world reflected on the amazing athletic abilities that the human body is capable to achieve. While this year's Olympians served as a true testament to dedication and athletic determination, those athletes participating in this year's Paralympics -- also in London -- are overcoming a multitude of disabilities to reach their physical ability goals. Steve Holcomb, an American Olympian who earned gold in the 2010 Winter Olympics for bobsledding, watches the Paralympic Games intently as they continue through Sept. 9. Holcomb's story is not unlike many of those Americans attending this year's Paralympics, as he once overcame the blinding eye disease known as Keratoconus.
Although Steve Holcomb was able to restore his vision through an innovative C3-R treatment, other athletes are not always as fortunate. Holcomb comments, "Paralympians are amazing -- all of them. What they do is incredible, and always inspiring. We all think that we've been through some difficult times. However, most of these athletes have been through situations that I question if I'd be able to get through."
According to a recent article in The New York Times, the United States has sent 54 Paralympians to the event -- five of which are blind. The article focuses on Lex Gillette, a blind long jumper who "holds the world record for his classification of the Paralympics, at 6.73 meters." With the help of his guide, Wesley Williams, Gillette is able to read cues through his other senses to ensure that he is performing correctly. Although Gillette recognizes that the practice requires a lot of trust, the article notes that his close relationship with his guide has allowed them to achieve record-breaking goals.
Holcomb reflects, "Although, I do have a small tie-in with the blind athletes, as I was going blind, I have questioned whether or not I would have been able to cope and find a sport to compete in. I could not imagine trying to be an athlete at that level with the eyesight that I had.
"Like I said, these athletes are amazing." In response to Gillette's challenges and subsequent successes, Steve Holcomb encourages all disabled individuals to not let fear discourage them from achieving an athletic goal that is right for them.
Steven Holcomb is an American bobsledding champion who helped the American bobsled team win a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, Canada. Prior to that success, Holcomb faced one of the most challenging problems in his life -- overcoming the degenerative eye disease known as Keratoconus. Through an innovative treatment, known as C3-R, Steven Holcomb was able to restore his vision and remain committed to his passion for bobsledding. Before becoming a recognized athlete, Holcomb joined the Utah National Guard in 1999 and served honorably for seven years as a soldier and a combat engineer.