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Five Unstoppable Athletes with a Disability

Written by: Iris

Five Unstoppable Athletes with a Disability post image

It is quite unthinkable that there's such a person who has never looked up to someone. When we were kids, our parents served as our first heroes and role models, regularly imitating them in our small world and were totally dependent on them. In school, we’ve looked up to our teachers who taught us the importance of academics and prepared us for the next chapter of our lives; and as the real world welcomes us, (without any choice at all!) we are to face the bittersweet aspects of our life- the tears of pain and joy, and the taste of success and failure.

As our world expands, the hardships which we encounter increase and these are the moments when we do not only seek support from the people close to us, but also take comfort in the achievements of others. Accomplished individuals truly amaze us, yet there is a deeper kind of inspiration that we gain through persons with disabilities, who have become successful in the pursuit of their happiness. It's as if their stories provide a more profound drive- touching us in so many ways and silently telling us that we can overcome life’s exigencies with the right outlook. These are 5 of the most commendable athletes with disabilities who have effectively proved how the strength of will could defy the physical capabilities.


1. Louise Sauvage


Image Source: Hawkeye7 thru Wikimedia Commons and can be reused under the CC BY

An Australian paralympic wheelchair racer, Louise Sauvage was born with myelomeningocele, a severe congenital spinal condition that prevents the lower half of her body from fully functioning. With determination and perseverance, she made her way in becoming a legend. A recipient of the Australian Female Athlete of the Year in 1999 and the International Female Wheelchair Athlete of the Year in 1999 and 2000, she is the most distinguished athlete with a disability in Australia.


2. Ernst van Dyk

Image Source: Gr5 thru Wikimedia Commons  and can be reused under the CC BY

Ernst van Dyk is a wheelchair racer and a handcyclist. He was born in South Africa with no legs. Supported by his parents who were athletes themselves, Ernst participated in several sports activities as a student. He has won 10 wheelchair titles in the Boston Marathon and achieved the Laureus World Sports Awards for Sportsperson with a Disability of the year for 2006. On April 20th, 2010, Ernst was recognized by the South African government for his achievements in sports, awarding him the Order of Ikhamanga in silver.


3. Trischa Zorn


Image Source: Laura Hale thru Wikimedia Commons and can be reused under the CC BY

Born in the USA and having been blind since birth, Trischa Zorn has impressively shown the world what girl power truly means. She is a Paralympic Hall of Fame awardee and with the 55 medals already under her belt, there is no doubt why Zorn is considered as the most successful athlete in the history of Paralympic Games.


4. Baxter Humby

Image Source: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images thru Krod under the Google Images Labeled for Reuse

Popularly known as "The One Armed Bandit", Canadian kickboxer Baxter Humby was born with his right hand entangled with his umbilical cord, which was amputated. He is the International Muay Thai Council World Super Welterweight Champion and holds a various belts in the the WBC, IKKC USA and IKBC championships. He is recognized for being the only man with one hand in the world to win several world titles. Baxter has also appeared on the films One Arm Hero, Spider-Man 3 and on the television series The Shield.


5. Wakako Tsuchida


Image Source: Flickr: Wakako Tsuchida (Japan) & Manuela Schar (Switzerland) - London Marathon 13.04.14 (3) by Julian Mason, uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot by  LukeSurl, and can be reused under the CC BY

Aside from holding the legendary title of being the first professional wheelchair athlete from Japan, Wakako Tsuchida is also an ice sledge racer. She has won two golds in the Winter Paralympics ice sledge racing in 1994, two silvers in 1998 and has gained medals in the IPC World Championships sledge racing. This remarkable paraplegic athlete definitely confirmed that the best of both worlds is highly achievable.


You simply cannot crush the spirits of these astonishingly amazing athletes. The way they have developed and keep perfecting themselves in their chosen fields are quite reflective of how they battled with life's adversities. Learning about the struggles that they have faced, strikes a chord with us. With all of the trials that challenge us, we tend to relate to their stories one way or another. These athletes keep us inspired, not for merely doing well while having a disability, but primarily because of their determination and extraordinary attitude in handling difficulties. Indeed, their desirable qualities and fortitude have created the right formula in making them tough inside and out.


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*Primary Image Source: Stevebidmead thru Pixabay and can be reused under the CC BY license.