Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Skier First to Be Named to Olympic and Paralympic Teams

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Skier First to Be Named to Olympic and Paralympic Teams

Article excerpt

When the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games begin March 12th in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Brian McKeever, a visually impaired Canadian who won four gold medals in cross-country skiing during the 2002 and 2006 Paralympic Games, will become the first winter-sport athlete to compete in both the Paralympic and 2010 Olympic Games, which took place in February. Once a promising member of Canada's junior national ski team, Mr. McKeever was diagnosed at age 19 with Stargardt's disease, an inherited form of macular degeneration that affects central vision. After Mr. McKeever's vision deteriorated to the point of legal blindness, he began to compete in para-nordic skiing, with his brother Robin, a 1998 Olympian, skiing in front of him as a reference point or guide. Although Mr. McKeever's main goal was to qualify for and compete in the Olympic Winter Games in February, as the start of the Paralympics approaches, he is determined to show there is not a large gap between able-bodied and disabled athletes. "It's important for people to know the Paralympics is as high as it gets," Mr. McKeever said. "It's the Olympic Games for people with physical disabilities, and I hope people will realize through my story . …

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