His Wheelchair Was Found Damaged Before The Race. Then He Set A Paralympic Record

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Peter Genyn of Team Belgium won gold in the Men's 100-meter T51 final on day 10 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

By , NPR

Two hours before the final of the men’s 100-meter T51 race in this summer’s Paralympic games, Peter Genyn arrived at the venue to find his wheelchair badly damaged.

“We had just arrived 45 minutes before the warmup, and we had three flat tires and a broken compensator. Everybody did everything they could to help, including the Dutch team,” the Belgian athlete told the Olympic Information Services after the race Friday.

Using duct tape to fix the frame, a team of staff from Team Belgium and Ottobock, a company that specializes in prosthetics and wheelchairs, rushed to fix the chair and replace the tires in time for Genyn to compete in the race.

Then the 44-year-old Genyn won gold, setting a new Paralympic record of 20.33 seconds.

“Thankfully I’m a maniac about my equipment, and I had lots of spares,” he said to the OIS. “I got my revenge.”

After his victory, Genyn told the Belgian TV network Sporza that he believed the damage to be an intentional act of “pure sabotage.”

“My chair is hanging together with duct tape. Someone must have been very scared,” he said, reportedly in tears. “It was terrible. I really thought it was over.”

The bronze medalist Roger Habsch, another Belgian athlete, also reported a flat tire that he believed to be intentional, according to Sporza. The Belgian Paralympic Committee has reportedly asked for an investigation.

Genyn is the world-record holder in the T51 classification, which covers track athletes with a variety of spinal cord disabilities with minimal upper body capabilities. Athletes in the T51 classification race in wheelchairs.

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

Soccer Star Carson Pickett First USWNT Player With Limb Difference

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Pro soccer player Carson Pickett on the field in her uniform

By TMZ

Pro soccer player Carson Pickett made history on Tuesday … becoming the first player with a limb difference to hit the pitch for the United States women’s national team.

Pickett — who was born without a left hand and forearm — started for the USWNT in its 2-0 victory over Colombia … as the Red, White and Blue extended their home win streak to 69 games.

The 28-year-old defender — who plays for the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage — competed in the entire contest against Colombia.

Pickett’s coach, Vlatko Andonovski, spoke about her spot on the team … saying, “Carson did very well in training for us in last week and with the management of minutes for Emily Fox that we had, we felt like Carson would be a good replacement.”

“I’m happy that she was able to perform well for 90 minutes,” he added.

Pickett has been very open and transparent about her limb difference … acknowledging it publicly, but also embracing the reality of her situation.

In April — Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness month — Pickett spoke about it in an Instagram post, “While I know that I am confident and comfortable with showing my arm, I know there are so many people in the world who aren’t.”

She continued … “The feeling of being different and the anxiety of not fitting in is something that I have been through. Wearing sweatshirts in the dead heat of summer to hide my arm. This month is really really special, important, and should be celebrated.”

“I hope to encourage anyone who struggles with their limb difference to not be ashamed of who they are. I want to be an advocate for others like me, and for the longest time I didn’t use my platform well enough.”

Click here to read the full article on TMZ.

Ben Simmons’s Mental Health Is Not a Joke

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headshot of ben simmons staring away from the camera

By , SI | NBA

New Nets guard Ben Simmons spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time in months after he was traded from the Sixers for James Harden and Paul Millsap, along with Andre Drummond, Seth Curry and two first-round picks. Simmons reported to the slumping team Monday after sitting out the start of the 2021–22 campaign, having cited mental health concerns. Not everyone took well to the positive development in Brooklyn this week.

“So much for Ben Simmons mental illness,” tweeted Philadelphia radio personality Howard Eskin. “Amazing how that was just fine once he got traded. Insulting to those that really suffer.”

“If Ben Simmons is suddenly ready to play for Brooklyn after weaponizing his mental health as an excuse to stay away from the Sixers, I’m going to have some thoughts,” tweeted Matt Mullin, a soon-to-be Philadelphia Inquirer editor. “Some very angry thoughts that will be hard to keep to myself.”

Simmons’s situation is somewhat of a test: How closely have we been paying attention to the underlying messages of athletes who speak out about their mental health? Did previous public discussion, particularly over the past year by Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles, not show us that sometimes people just need a break or a change of scenery? Not everyone—in sports or not—can afford those opportunities, but those who can should. And if those at the peak of their professions take a break, then maybe the rest of us can eventually follow their lead and work to set boundaries for ourselves, too.

“I feel physically pretty good,” Simmons told reporters in his introductory press conference. “Mentally, I’m getting there, so it’s an ongoing thing to stay on top of that. But I think I’m heading in the right direction.”

Simmons hasn’t played yet this year, citing mental health concerns after sitting out training camp and the regular season thus far. Some argued that tying this to his mental health—as his agent, Rich Paul, did—was a financial play, Simmons’s exploitation of a loophole so he could still earn money while hanging tight for a ticket out of town.

Simmons denied that perception Tuesday. “A bunch of things that were going on over the years, I wasn’t myself. Being happy, taking care of my well-being. It wasn’t about the basketball, it wasn’t about the money.”

Simmons was said to be receiving assistance with his mental health from outside the franchise, which started during the offseason. He reportedly turned down the Sixers’ internal help. (“Philadelphia does not have a mental health doctor on its staff with whom Simmons is comfortable,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported in early November.)

Many athletes have said, including to me, that they prefer seeing licensed mental health practitioners outside of team settings, where there’s less pressure to focus on performance and getting back to work immediately. Most workplaces don’t even have in-house doctors, for partially this reason. There’s also a greater sense of privacy in seeking out mental health care outside of the team. It’s a move that comes at the athlete’s own expense, which can be pricy, but it’s a trade-off well worth it for some.

It is easy to make jokes about Simmons. He’s a star NBA player who can’t seem to shoot a two at times, let alone a three. But his mental health, just like anyone else’s, is not a laughing matter, despite all the quips about a move to Brooklyn never improving a 20-something’s well-being.

Sure, the fit in Philly may not have been right for Simmons, but that doesn’t mean he was faking something like anxiety or depression just to get a trade. Who among us hasn’t had a workplace situation that weighed on our mood or even exacerbated a preexisting mental illness? A change of setting can’t fix everything, but it’s entirely possible that a new team, a new city and a new boss really are helping Simmons feel better.

We can’t selectively decide which athletes get the benefit of the doubt based on whose stories sound more credible to strangers. If you want to believe Osaka and Biles and all the rest, believe Simmons. If you’re having a hard time extending him the grace, remember that there’s not much to be gained by athletes who disclose mental health issues. While there is increasingly positive media coverage and good branding opportunities for athletes who speak up, for those inside the world of sports, disclosure mostly raises red flags, making them—especially Black men—look weak and vulnerable in the eyes of many on the court and off.

Click here to read the full article on SI | NBA.

Who are the deaf performers at the Super Bowl? Meet Warren ‘Wawa’ Snipe and Sean Forbes

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warren snipe, sean forbes, and dr dre at the super bowl stadium in los angeles

By , Today

This year’s halftime show will also be making history: Two deaf rappers will also be featured in the performance. Thanks to Dr. Dre, Warren “Wawa” Snipe and Sean Forbes will be taking the stage on Sunday night.

Who are the deaf performers at the Super Bowl?
The record producer added the two artists to the lineup to give moving American Sign Language renditions of the songs that will be performed in the halftime show. Other starring artists featured on Sunday night will include Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

Before the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals take to the field at California’s SoFi Stadium, country star Mickey Guyton will sing the national anthem.

Guyton will be joined by actor Sandra Mae Frank, who will perform alongside her in American Sign Language.

When asked what this inclusion of her as a performer during the pre-game represents for the deaf community at large, the “New Amsterdam” star said, “That we are here, ready to be loud and show our talent. We’re not going anywhere, and this is just the beginning of many more to come from deaf artists. We have so many stories to share and work to do. It’s time for the world to open up and give us a voice.”

What is the difference between a deaf performer and an interpreter?
“The difference between a deaf performer and an interpreter is originality,” Snipe told TODAY via email. “A performer creates original artwork through their presentation, whereas an interpreter interprets from another person’s artwork. That’s the main thing but for this event, it’s a bit different. We’re kind of doing both but we’re given the freedom to embody these artists the best way possible.”

Who is Warren ‘Wawa’ Snipe?
Snipe is a talented American Sign Language artist who first stole fans’ hearts at last year’s Super Bowl when he performed the National Anthem and “America the Beautiful” alongside singers H.E.R, Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church.

When viewers saw what the Philadelphia native did on the field, they instantly took to Twitter to show their appreciation.

“I don’t know about yall but Warren “WAWA” Snipe stole the show!!!” one person wrote.

Another said, “Genuinely obsessed with the ASL interpreter for the national anthem.”

“I ‘grew up’ with Dr. Dre, Snoop, Mary J Blige. What I mean by that is that we’re nearly the same age! I love their influence, their energy and their music,” Snipe told TODAY of the excitement performing alongside the roster of talent. “Their lyrics make me think and I can really relate to them on many of the things they talk about in their songs. In addition, they open up doors for me to express myself through my music and through sign language. I use these experiences as teachable moments.”

Snipe first started his music career in 1994 when he graduated from Gallaudet University. He released his album, “Deaf: So What?!” in 2016 before taking on a featured role in the CW’s superhero show “Black Lightning” in 2018.

Although Snipe is most known for that role, he has been acting for the past 31 years and has been a part of some small projects like 2014’s “The Tuba Thieves” and 2011’s “If You Could Hear My Own Tune.”

Snipe is also focused on bringing attention to dip hop, a niche musical category that he has pioneered.

According to the National Association of the Deaf, Wawa describes the genre as “Hip Hop through deaf eyes.”

On what he hopes people take away from his Super Bowl halftime show performance, he said, “To inspire up and coming artists to realize their dreams and to never give up!”

Click here to read the full article on Today.

California man scales Machu Picchu in off-roading wheelchair

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An off-roading wheelchair allowed Robert and Nelly Kapen to visit Machu Picchu with several family members.

By

On an unseasonably cold December afternoon in Southern California, most Angelenos have retreated to their homes. But at Miramar Park, a narrow strip of green space overlooking Torrance County Beach, Robert Kapen and his wife Nelly are out for an adventure.

For Kapen — whom Nelly is pushing in a special, off-roading wheelchair — wintry weather is a relatively minor obstacle. During the first 23 years of his life, Kapen was a healthy, outdoorsy person. Then in 2011, he suffered a brain stem stroke that left him paralyzed.

Doctors told his family that he had a 1% chance of survival, and that if he lived, he’d likely be in a vegetative state. Kapen beat those odds. His mental faculties were unscathed, and he slowly regained some movement and speech through therapy. Eventually, he was able to communicate, eat, operate a motorized wheelchair and write a book. He had another big dream, too.

“Growing up, I fell in love with hiking, being outdoors and the beauty of nature,” he says. That was taken away from him for 10 years, Kapen says, but very recently, a new set of wheels has allowed for his return. It’s called the AdvenChair.

The orange, “all-terrain” wheelchair is human-powered and designed to help people with mobility challenges to venture into the wild. Its wheels, tires, brakes and handlebars are all premium mountain bike parts, and the large tires and suspension system offer a comfortable ride. Thanks to a versatile system of pulleys, bars and straps, teams of one to five people can assist in navigating the AdvenChair over just about any landscape.

The AdvenChair recently enabled Kapen to visit Machu Picchu. Over in Palm Springs, Floyd McGregor — who has an autoimmune disease of the muscles called myositis — is raising money for an AdvenChair pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. Isaac Shannon, a Southern Californian with mitochondrial disease, has been using his AdvenChair for regular jaunts around Southern California.

“It’s rejuvenating to be outside, especially as a person with a disability, because these resources are not exactly the most accessible,” Shannon says in a video created for the Denver Channel. “So when there is a tool that allows a person to be able to experience life in the most average way possible, I think it’s healing, and it’s nice to be out in nature where you’re not around people.”

The man behind AdvenChair is Geoff Babb of Bend, Ore. He grew up backpacking, climbing and mountain biking, and worked as a fire ecologist for the Bureau of Land Management. At age 48, a blood clot in his brain caused a brain stem stroke, and just like Kapen, he nearly died. Babb lost the ability to walk and much of his strength, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him from visiting the outdoors.

Babb started looking around for a wheelchair that could help him navigate rugged terrain, and found a couple of options: the GRIT Freedom Chair and the Mountain Trike. The designs were good, he says, but they didn’t work for him.

“They all relied on the rider having enough upper body strength to push the levers,” Babb says. “But myself and a lot of people, we don’t have the body strength.” So Babb decided to invent his own.

Click here to read the full article on SFGate.

Marine Corps veteran, amputee makes history at Boston Marathon

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A Marine Corps veteran and amputee, Keating started his run just after the professional runners and before the next pack of fast competitors.

By KSBY

When Peter Keating took off from the starting line at the Boston Marathon, it was the realization of a dream come true. But he never imagined just how unique his 26.2-mile trek would be.

He was among more than 15,000 runners who raced on Monday after the pandemic forced the event to move from April to October.

A Marine Corps veteran and amputee, Keating started his run just after the professional runners and before the next pack of fast competitors.

“I had six miles all to myself,” he said. “I would look forward, I would look backward, and there was no one but me on the road. It was like the race was meant for me.”

For the first time in the race’s 125-year history, the Boston Athletic Association included a division for para-athletes.

Keating, 31, ran an impressive time of 3:25:02, earning him third place in the division. He was awarded an engraved glass cup, a $500 check, and the Boston Marathon medal coveted by runners.

While the prize money is nice, the pride Keating feels is more important.

“Just to be recognized as an adaptive athlete who can never run as fast as a normal person, so to speak, still to be recognized for their efforts in their own division,” he said.

In 2017, Keating, stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, stopped to help another Marine involved in a car crash. Moments later, Keating would become a victim.

“That’s when another car came on and hit us straight on,” Keating said.

Keating suffered a severe injury to his left leg. After struggling with foot function for a year, he decided to amputate his leg below the knee in 2018.

Over the past three years, he has documented his inspiring progress through videos and his Instagram page.

One video shows him taking his first steps on his prosthetic leg. Others capture Keating brought to tears after finishing runs on his running blade.

“Today was a victory,” he said in one of those videos.

Keating wears a sweat sock and liner underneath his 10-pound running blade. To keep the socket from becoming too wet and loose, he changed the sweat sock three times during the Boston Marathon.

He estimates the changes cost him about seven minutes on his race time.

He said that’s an example of a struggle he faces as a para-athlete and points out that he’s not one to focus on a negative.

“I can run, and I can run just like anybody else,” he said.

Keating said his Boston accomplishment is also meaningful because of the bombings near the finish line during the 2013 race. The blasts killed three people, and 17 others lost limbs.

“It means even more to us because many lives were changed that day,” he said.

Keating said one of his next goals is to push for a para-athlete division for the marathon in the Olympics. If that happens, Keating believes he could earn a spot on the U.S. team.

Click here to read the full article on KSBY.

He’s 72, an amputee, and won 6 medals at National Veterans Wheelchair Games

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Patrick Terry is 72, an amputee, and won 6 medals at National Veterans Wheelchair Games

By Jerry Carino, Asbury Park Press

At first, the bad news hit Patrick Terry hard: His right leg would have to be amputated below the knee due to an infection.

“I cried for about half an hour that day, sobbing,” he said.

Then he remembered something a mentor taught him: the Serenity Prayer.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

That was 2009. Terry, a U.S. Navy veteran and longtime Union Beach resident, accepted his condition. Then he sought to make the best of it by participating in adaptive sports. His quest reached an apex last month, when he won six medals — three gold, one silver and two bronze — at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in New York City.

At age 72.

“My family and the people that know me are proud of me and just overwhelmed that I could do this,” he said.

From addiction to adaptive sports
Originally from Yonkers, N.Y., Terry competed in football and track in high school and enlisted in the Navy in 1969, serving aboard the USS Albany. He later served in the U.S. Navy Reserve and worked for New York City’s Department of Transportation, paving and milling roads.

By 2005, he was in need of help for alcohol and drug addiction. A sponsor in a 12-step recovery program introduced him to the Serenity Prayer.

“That freed me to be the person I am,” Terry said. “I now have 16 years clean and sober. I used to blame everybody else for my problems. The problems, they were with me.”

In 2009 he joined the East Orange Thunder, an adaptive sports team comprised of veterans and founded by Ralph Jones, a recreational therapist with the Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System.

“He picked up on all the adaptive sports quickly,” Jones said. “He’s just a natural athlete.”

Click here to read the full article on Asbury Park Press.

How Paralympic Wheelchairs and Prostheses Are Optimized for Speed and Performance

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Japan’s Yui Kitama (left) shoots during the first quarter of a women’s wheelchair basketball preliminary-round game against the U.K. at the Tokyo Paralympics at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza on August 26, 2021. Credit: Getty Images

By Sophie Bushwick, Scientific American

As audiences across the world tune in to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, they will see athletes using an impressive array of high-tech prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs and other assistive technology. These devices bear little resemblance to those for everyday use—and vary a great deal from sport to sport.

“We design sporting equipment to get the best possible performance based upon the constraints and needs of that sport,” explains Bryce Dyer, a sports technologist at Bournemouth University in England, who develops prostheses for athletes with disabilities.

For example, blade-style prostheses—which are springy to better store and release energy—have become well known in track-and-field events. But people with lower-limb amputations who compete in cycling events have to perform a different type of motion at much higher velocities, so their prosthetic limbs have different requirements. “One of the greatest forces that slow you down when you get above a certain speed is that of aerodynamic drag. And the more drag there is, the more effort you have to apply to try and mitigate for and overcome it,” Dyer explains. The legs of nondisabled people are “not particularly aerodynamic; they’re not designed for that task. But a cycling prosthesis, we can design it that way.” He has created such items with a flat middle section in place of the lower leg. “We can make it very, very thin,” Dyer says, “almost like an aircraft wing—razor-blade thickness—to slice through air [and] reduce or remove any turbulence from it.” For cycling limbs, this flat section is oriented so the thin edge faces forward, as opposed to blade prostheses for running, in which the broad side does so.

Wheelchairs for different sports also vary widely, although they share some similarities. Many are built from high-tech materials, such as carbon fiber, that make them both strong and lightweight. They often include rubber-coated wheel-turning grips that athletes grab with gloved hands to maximize friction. But beyond that, the designs diverge. In wheelchair fencing, for example, the wheels are locked into place while athletes strike and dodge from set positions. So fencing chairs are equipped with leg straps and sturdy handles that help the athlete stay solidly seated. And many have a lower than usual back to enable more upper-body movement.

The basic shape of a fencing chair still looks a lot like that of an everyday wheelchair. But this is not at all the case with racing chairs, which are built for high speeds. A third wheel in the front of such a device enables a low, elongated shape, which works optimally with the athlete’s position: kneeling and leaning forward. Spoked wheels are usually swapped out for smooth disks that generate less air turbulence, reducing the effort required to move at high speeds.

For sports that require more maneuverability, yet another design element is required. “Your tires or your wheels are actually slanted,” says retired American wheelchair basketball player Becca Murray, who has participated in three Paralympic Games and won gold at two of them. “And the dynamic of that is that it helps you be faster, and you’re able to turn quicker on the dime, whereas your everyday chair—it doesn’t let you turn as sharp.” Additional wheels on the back of the chair also help with these speedy turns and add stability. But such chairs do sometimes tip over, so designs must be sturdy. This is also why athletes wear straps or belts across their hips and legs. “If you were to fall over, you want to be able to just get right back up,” Murray says. “So you want your wheelchair to stay attached to you, almost like you’re one with the wheelchair.”

In addition to suiting a specific sport, a device must serve each athlete’s unique needs. “Most of the equipment is custom-made: it’s designed to get the most out of that individual athlete’s physical body,” says Ian Brittain, an associate professor of disability and Paralympic sport at Coventry University’s Research Center for Business in Society in England. For instance, prosthetic legs for track and field may or may not include mechanical knee joints. “Some runners, depending on the length of their limb, will have a knee joint added” if they have an above-the-knee amputation, Dyer says. “But there are some unique athletes, and a good example of that is the British athlete Richard Whitehead.” Whitehead has two above-the-knee amputations and has developed his own running style—one that does not require knee joints at all. “It looks almost like an egg whisk, where he almost brings his legs around in a whisking pattern, left- and right-hand side,” Dyer says. “That’s very unique to him.”

Among athletes who compete in wheelchairs, similar customization is necessary. For instance, increasing the height of the chair’s back and the slope of its seat, also called the “dump,” can help compensate for abdominal weakness. “I actually have a little dump in my chair because I don’t have all my core muscles to help me with that balance,” Murray explains. “It just means that my knees are higher than where I’m sitting, so it’s on an incline.” Players with injuries high on their spine may have less abdominal strength than Murray and require a dump even in their everyday chair. Others with amputations or knee injuries may have more abdominal strength and not need a dump at all.

The technology seen at the Paralympics can increase speed and mobility in sports—but it is unlikely to inspire visibly different designs for nonathletes. One reason is that the wheelchairs used in daily life are already optimized for other qualities, such as taking up as little space as possible. “You want your everyday chair to be the smallest it can be, because in everyday life, you have to get through little places and doorways and things like that,” Murray explains. “You like it to fit snug on your hips, and the wheels are straight up and down so that you can be as narrow as possible.” Many public spaces are simply not built to accommodate a variety of wheelchair designs.

Price is another consideration. “You have to bear in mind the commercial market for elite athletes is incredibly small, and in many cases, those athletes are sponsored,” Dyer says. “So it is important to have some degree of trickle down in the same way that IndyCar or Formula One technology does eventually trickle down to everyday family cars. But sometimes it’s quite subtle.” For example, some scarcely visible component of a prosthesis—such as the socket that attaches the limb to the wearer’s body—may improve.

Click here to read the full article on the Scientific American.

Six-time major marathon winner Daniel Romanchuk grabs first Paralympic medal

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Already a legend in the marathon community, Daniel Romanchuk won the first Paralympic medal of his career Sunday night with a gold medal on the track.

By NBC Sports.

Already a legend in the marathon community, Daniel Romanchuk won the first Paralympic medal of his career Sunday night with a gold medal on the track.

As the first and only U.S. man – elite or wheelchair – to win the World Marathon Majors series title, and a reigning world champion on the track, Romanchuk had already made a name for himself but had yet to medal at the Paralympic Games.

Romanchuk won the men’s 400m T54 in 45.72 seconds in Tokyo, edging Thailand’s Athiwat Paeng-Nuea by one hundredth of a second. China’s Dai Yunqiang took bronze in 46.20.

The final also included 11-time Paralympic medalist Saichon Konjen of Thailand, four-time world medalist Zhang Yong of China and two-time world medalist Richard Chiassaro, who finished fourth, fifth and seventh.

The Maryland native set an Americas record of 45.31 seconds to win the first heat earlier in the day, while Paeng-Nuea set a Paralympic record of 44.87 in his heat, lowering the previous one that had stood since 2008 by 0.2.

In the final, Romanchuk, 23, trailed the 18-year-old Paeng-Nuea as they rounded the final turn, but chased him down the straightaway and caught him at the line.

Romanchuk made his Paralympic debut five years ago in Rio, where he raced every distance from the 100m to the 5000m but was no better than 13th in his five events.

He started racing marathons in 2016, when he placed 16th in New York City. By 2018, Romanchuk was third in both Boston and London in the spring, then won Chicago and New York in the fall.

The following year, Romanchuk swept all four domestic major marathons and was second in Tokyo. He won the World Marathon Majors series title for 2018-19, joining Tatyana McFadden as the only Americans to do so.

Romanchuk is the first American to win the New York City men’s wheelchair title, and the youngest winner in his event at both Boston and New York.

After his dominant year in the marathon, Romanchuk went to Dubai for the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships and won the 800m T54 world title for his first major medal on the track.

Click here to read the full article on NBC Sports.

Paralympian Sophia Herzog has a mental health coach and psychologist ‘to get me prepared and healthy’

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Sophia Herzog smiling at the camera

By Cindy Augustine, Yahoo! Life

The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

Sophia Herzog may be a Paralympian bound for Tokyo and determined to win a medal in swimming, but in many ways, she’s a lot like her 20-something peers: focused on her future. The Colorado native, who was born with a form of dwarfism, has been steadily training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, prepping for the Tokyo games — but she knows she can’t swim forever.

When Herzog, 24, isn’t training or obsessing over her dog, Odie, she’s been thinking about what lies ahead after swimming — and choosing to make her education a priority. As a graduate from DeVry University, an official education provider of Team USA, Herzog was able to get her degree on her own terms (mostly virtual), and showed off her ability to juggle her athletic training and career training.

Herzog will be competing in freestyle, breaststroke and butterfly heats as the Paralympic Games get underway on Tuesday. Before taking off for Tokyo, the athlete caught up with Yahoo Life and shared how she stays focused and mentally prepared.

How do you approach taking care of your mental health?

We saw how much pressure athletes are under from the [Tokyo] Olympics, and I think it’s really important. I have a mental health coach and a psychologist that I work with almost weekly to get me prepared and healthy, just like my gym coach and swim coach. It’s nice to shed a light on the pressure — Olympic superhero athletes are just like every other human.

Aside from being in the pool, what else brings you joy?

We adopted a dog last June, and he’s been [helpful] in disconnecting from swimming. Getting outside and watching him be joyous over the littlest things has been a huge help for me. He’s now my child [laughs], Odie. I’m only 24 years old now and this is what I’ve done professionally for 12 years. I haven’t really experienced life outside of swimming and I’m looking forward to finding what brings me joy — besides my dog.

Click here to read the full article Yahoo! Life.

Simone Biles Prioritizes Her Mental Health By Withdrawing From Team USA’s Final Competition In The Tokyo Olympics

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Simone Biles at the olympic games posing with her arms in the air in front of a balance beam

By Marsha B., Yahoo! Lifestyle

Over the years, people with high profile occupations like athletes, musicians, and actors, have compromised their mental health at the expense of their craft. The idea that you have to power through filming a movie, performing at a concert, or competing in a game because people are depending on you, often causes you to compromise the time needed to rebuild your mental, physical and emotional stamina.

When Naomi Osaka first told the world that she wouldn’t participate in the 2021 French Open, she was met with both praise and mockery. We rarely hear of athletes prioritizing their mental health, but this generation has made it clear that no competition is worth compromising their mental and emotional well being.

Simone Biles is the latest athlete to throw in the towel and withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics. In a tweet from the USA Gymnastics, they gave Biles’ official statement.

“Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”

Although her official statement says she’s withdrawing for medical issues, others are saying it is more about preserving her emotional well-being. In another statement, Biles said that physically she feels well but emotionally things aren’t as steady.

“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape. Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”

In another tweet, an NBC commentator reported that according to a Team USA coach, Biles’ exit was less about an injury and more about an internal struggle she’s having.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Lifestyle.

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  4. Reeve Summit 2022
    October 13, 2022 - November 14, 2022
  5. 2022 M-Enabling Summit Conference and Innovation Showcase
    October 24, 2022 - October 26, 2022

Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. ROMBA Conference
    October 6, 2022 - October 8, 2022
  4. Reeve Summit 2022
    October 13, 2022 - November 14, 2022
  5. 2022 M-Enabling Summit Conference and Innovation Showcase
    October 24, 2022 - October 26, 2022