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The Importance Of A Paralympian's Equipment

I took some time on Saturday to watch the opening ceremonies of the Paralympic Games that NBC was airing. As I watched the USA pridefully wave the red, white, and blue flag and wave to those in attendance, it really never crossed my mind just how valuable their equipment is.... until I read this piece from Digital Trends this morning.

Few things in sports are more important than the relationship between an athlete and his equipment.

But for adaptive athletes like three-time Paralympic gold medalist Alana Nichols, who will compete in alpine events for the United States in the 2014 Paralympic Games this March in Sochi, the vast universe of gear enjoyed by the able-bodied has no equivalent.

Nichols uses a monoski (or sit ski), essentially a molded seat mounted on a frame, attached to a single ski by a footbed. Over the years, monoskis have become lighter, with better shock absorption systems, and allow athletes greater flexibility to manipulate their center of gravity through the positioning of the seat – or bucket, as it’s called – and how the rigs connect to the ski. Still, Nichols says, because the market is unquestionably niche, there is still a decidedly DIY, trial-and-error feel to the whole thing, particularly when it comes to the bucket.

“Most of what has happened in the sit-ski world is basically made in the garage. Made to work,” she says. “We basically took snowboard straps, the toe piece and ankle piece, and screwed them onto our buckets. That’s how we strap in. We’ve basically adapted whatever we could to make it work.”

Read the rest.

More about the Paralympics from Life After Paralysis blogger Candace Cable who is at the Games!

Are you watching the Paralympic Games? What do you think so far?



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Posted by JLo on Mar 10, 2014 11:47 AM America/New_York