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Deafblind Paralympian quits Team USA after being denied basic accommodation

A six-time Paralympic medalist was forced to make the “heartbreaking” decision to kill her own Olympic dreams.

“I’m angry, I’m disappointed, but most of all, I’m sad not to represent my country,” Becca Meyers, a deafblind swimmer, said Tuesday in a statement shared on Twitter.

The 26-year-old, who had a chance to win a medal in four events at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, sent an email Sunday to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee informing them that she was withdrawing from Team USA, said reported the Washington Post.

Stacy Revere via Getty Images

Becca Meyers competes in the women’s 100m butterfly on day three of the 2021 US Paralympic Swimming Trials in June.

In her statement, the disabled athlete said the USOPC denied her “reasonable and essential accommodation” she needed to compete in the Tokyo Games. Meyers explained that the committee told her repeatedly that she did not need a “personal care assistant (PCA)” that I trust, because there will be only one PCA among the staff who will. is available to help me and 33 other Paralympic swimmers, 9 of whom are also visually impaired.

Meyers said the committee had approved her mother to be her PCA since 2017, but due to COVID-19 there are now “limits of non-essential staff in place.” She added: “Rightly so, but a trusted PCA is essential for me to compete.”

Deafblind Paralympian quits Team USA after being denied basic accommodation

Buda Mendes via Getty Images

Meyers wins gold in the women’s S13 400m freestyle final at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Rick Adams, USOPC’s head of athletic performance services and national governing bodies, told Meyers’ father in a June 29 email obtained by the Post that there were no exceptions “to late additions. to our delegation list other than athletes and essential operational personnel. . ”

“As I have told you both over the phone and by email, I fully understand your concerns and wish we could get away with it. [sic] a way like we have done in the past.

Yet Meyers’ past experience of traveling without his own PCA seems terrifying.

She told the Post that at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games, she was upset and stopped eating because she couldn’t find the dining room. Although her parents ultimately saved her – and she won several medals – she vowed to herself that she would never put herself in this situation again.

“So, in 2021, why as a disabled person, am I still fighting for my rights? Meyers asked in his statement. “I speak for future generations of Paralympic athletes in the hope that they will never have to feel the pain I have experienced. Enough is enough.”

Deafblind Paralympian quits Team USA after being denied basic accommodation

Théo Wargo via Getty Images

Meyers attends the 40th Annual Women in Sports Foundation Honoring Women in Sport Gala in 2019.

Meyers told the Post that the committee had time to resolve this issue but “chose not to.”

She said she had a meeting with the USOPC in May to discuss the matter.

“They spoke right above me. They fired me. They said, ‘This is what we have; you will have to take care of it.

In response to his bold and heartbreaking decision, Meyers received a ton of support online.

Lors d’une audience du comité sénatorial de la santé, de l’éducation, du travail et des retraites mardi, la sénatrice Maggie Hassan (DN.H.) a dénoncé l’échec du comité à accueillir pleinement Meyers et d’autres athlètes handicapés.

“C’est un scandale et une situation évitable qui n’aurait jamais dû arriver à ce point”, a-t-elle déclaré, appelant le Comité olympique et paralympique américain à résoudre immédiatement le problème et à s’assurer que tous les athlètes sont capables de concourir en toute sécurité et sur un pied d’égalité.

“Les personnes handicapées ne devraient pas être obligées de naviguer aux Jeux olympiques de Tokyo sans le soutien dont elles ont besoin”, a déclaré le législateur.


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