The U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, has selected 10 student athletes, ages 12-18, with physical disabilities to attend the International Paralympic Academy at the 2006 Paralympic Games in Torino, Italy, March 8-13, 2006.
Coordinated by the U.S. Paralympics, participants in the Academy will have the opportunity to meet U.S. Paralympic team members, in addition to attending ceremonies and competitions, and gaining an insider’s perspective on the games. Student athletes were chosen based on essay entries they submitted on the theme, “What Ability Means to Me.”
Josh Scanlon, 13, of Delano, Minnesota, who participates in a variety of sports at the Courage Center’s Sports and Recreation Program, was selected to attend the 2006 Int’l Paralympic Academy. Josh is active in the Courage Alpine Skiing, the Minnesota Blizzard Track and Field team, the Courage Junior Rolling Timberwolves wheelchair basketball team and swimming. Scanlon, an eighth grader at Watertown-Mayer Middle School, was injured in a 2004 gymnastics accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
“I have planned to go to the Olympics since I began gymnastics at 5 years old,” said Scanlon in his essay. “Many people thought my dream was over after my accident but this dream and my ‘ability’ to go has not changed. Before my accident, my focus was in gymnastics, skiing, wrestling and wake boarding. Since my accident, my ability has carried over into sports like track and field, mono skiing, wheelchair basketball and swimming.”
The Paralympic Academy is a three-tier program with state, national and international components. State Paralympic Academies, including one sponsored by the Courage Center, are hosted in each state by sports organizations that specialize in Paralympic programs. The National Para-lympic Academy is held in odd-numbered years at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, while the International Paralympic Academy is held at the Paralympic Games in the even-numbered years. For more information about the U.S. Paralympics, visit www.usparalympics.org.
About Courage Center
Courage Center provides services to more than 16,000 people with disabilities each year. For more information, visit www.courage.org