Self-Respect & Paralympic Cycling
Respect as Response
15Cycling gives me such a rush.” Stuart Flacks, Paralympian first rode as therapy for traumatic injury
The next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself for nursing some injury or drained by overcoming limitations, meditate on our disabled cycling brethren. These athletes compete in classes blind, or with severe to slight lower limb disability, or with cerebral palsy, or as handcyclists in either road or track events.
Paralympic cycling was introduced in 1988 at the Seoul Olympics and is now practiced worldwide on the same quadrennial cycle. One can strive to the heights in events, such as Paralympic Games, World Cups, and World, European and National Championships. One year’s theme for the American Paralympic Team was RESPECT:
16“Respect is the way one chooses to respond….a lot like The Golden Rule…Real athletes show respect for themselves, for their teammates, for their competitors, and for their sport…Examples: Valuing diversity—in race, ethnicity, gender, size, and ability; treating other athletes as equals—on your team, on another team, or from another country; congratulating your opponents on their victories; behaving on the field of play in a way that others admire; doing what is right; obeying the rules of competition and being willing to abide by the final results of play; refusing to harm your body or alter your performance with drugs; maintaining a positive attitude toward competition and your competitors…Respect builds self-confidence. It makes you and others feel better…”
In comparison to this creed, maybe it’s we able-bodied who are disabled in spirit and must take a lesson in respect. One of America’s most sought after fit experts,17Andy Pruitt, also has palmarès as a disabled cycling champion. His “limitation” became an expertise that helps others, and one of his best gifts. Now that’s a self-respecting response!
Prayer for ParalympicCycling
“I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 182 Corinthians 12:10
We thrill at examples of overcoming adversity, even great hardship. We confess we can feel sorry for ourselves for even the least bit of difficulty. We pray for a spirit that delights in hardness to prove what’s strong and ask blessing upon Paralympic cycling.
Ponder Does my self-respect include valuing my abilities even when limited? Affirm I congratulate the best even when I’m at my worst. Watch for opportunities to prove strength when weakest.
14New American Standard Bible, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
15“The Greek gods would be pleased—the 2004 Summer Paralympics revisited,” by Diane Craft, Susan Hudson, Sarah Rich, Andreas Hadjisavvas, Nancy Megginson, published by Palaestra on September 22, 2004 posted on www.goliath.ecnext.com
16“Respect,” National Olympic Education Program www.usolympicteam.com/paralympics
17Pruitt is quoted and referenced in “Body Geometry: Prayer for Bike Positioning & Fitters,” of Prayers for the Peloton, not yet posted here on Good Spin. He is the founder of Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Andy is remarkable not only for winning Paralympic World Championships but for his influence and expertise on positioning. He has helped scores of riders alleviate pain and get more out of their bikes.
18The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society