Monday, August 18, 2008

USA Today profiles Natalie Du Toit, disabled swimmer competing at Olympics

USA Today profiled South African swimmer Natalie Du Toit, (pictured left) who it says "became the first disabled athlete to qualify for an able-bodied Olympic event when she made the field for the 10-kilometer open water swimming event." She is a national hero in South Africa and carried the South African flag in the opening Olympics ceremonies.

"Her story has been told in school text books, and she is in much demand as a motivational speaker," USA Today reports. "I am always late because people stop me for autographs and say hi," Du Toit said.

However, in an entry here August 13, I posted and article from Canada that profiled two disabled women competitors in Beijing. The other is Natalia Partyka of Poland, who competes in women's team table tennis.

Also, I finally watched the BBC America documentary on South African "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius, "The Fastest Man on No Legs," and it was excellent. It included many specific details about his quest to compete as a runner in the Olympics using his prosthetics. It showed him undergoing all the tests the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) conducted to see if his prosthetics gave him an advantage. He came across as a genuine guy who says he wouldn't want to compete if he has an unfair advantage.