The Girl with the Olympic Tattoo

By AtGeist | July 14, 2012, 4:49 p.m. (ET)

Two years ago, featured an article on a 13-year-old fencing phenom who had just switched to wheelchair fencing from able-bodied fencing. Cat Bouwkamp’s goal at that time was to compete in London at the Olympics. Her goal is becoming a reality. Cat was one of the first athletes to qualify for the 2012 London Paralympic games this August.

Listed as one of the Top 12 Paralympic athletes to watch, Cat is the youngest fencer on the team. Cat is also the only female on the USA Paralympic fencing team to qualify. Her sponsors include Nike and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana.

This summer, Cat will first compete in the Fencing World Cup in July in Warsaw, Poland. Next, she will attend the Paralympic opening ceremonies in London, with the Queen, on August 29. Her event, foil, will be held on September 4, after she begins her junior year at Fishers High School.

“Life is full of obstacle illusions.” – Grant Frazier. Nothing could be closer to the truth for Cat. Born with fibular hemimelia in her right leg, she endured multiple surgeries. Naturally right-handed, and with her right ankle being a fixed joint, she had to become ambidextrous and fence with her left arm. As she and her peers matured, the challenge with her leg became more pronounced. Her talent and potential was recognized by wheelchair judge, Sean Schumate, whom Cat deeply admires and respects... more>