Saturday, March 1, 2008

Wrestler receives NY Times attention

Dustin Carter, an Ohio wrestler with a 41-2 record, was profiled by The New York Times Feb. 29. Carter had his legs and arms amputated as a child due to a blood infection.

Sports is an interesting area of disability imagery because the focus of sports stories is on winners and athletes who defy the odds, with or without disabilities. Carter appears to be worthy of a profile because of his excellent wrestling record and the fact he will compete in the Division II state wrestling tournament, making him one of the top wrestlers in Ohio.

He also tries to make it clear he doesn't want anyone's pity: “I don’t look at myself as different. I wrestle like anybody else. I go to school like anybody else. I can live on my own like anybody else. I can do anything anybody else can do. I don’t like people feeling sorry for me. Some people do.”

I don't think the sports media will ever stop doing these kinds of "overcoming the odds" stories, but it is a better profile when the athlete can get his or her perspective across, as Carter does.