Isaac Jean-Paul competes in the Men's Long Jump T13 on Day Six of the IPC World Para Athletics Championships 2019 Dubai on Nov. 12, 2019 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
When Isaac Jean-Paul was younger, his idea of what it meant to be a man was what he gleamed from watching television shows, that masculinity was always being in charge and being tough.
“Since I wasn’t able to do that, I had to overcome my thought of what masculinity was,” Jean-Paul said. “Now, masculinity to me, is how you view yourself as a man, what you do for others, and how others perceive you by how you act, not by what you can do.”
During this year’s National Blind Sports Week, Jean-Paul, a T13 classification track and field athlete, and fellow rising track star Noah Malone, T12, find themselves reflecting on how much they have learned since joining the Paralympic Movement. National Blind Sports Week runs from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3, concluding with the third annual National Blind Sports Day. It is aimed at showcasing sports and opportunities for blind and visually impaired athletes.
Both Jean-Paul and Malone are very new to the Paralympic Movement. For Malone, a freshman at Indiana State University, this is his second year in Para sports.
He was introduced to disabled sports in 2018 by Cathy Sellers, the former high performance director for U.S. Paralympic Track & Field. Malone competed in the next Desert Challenge, and posted a time that put him on the national team.
“That’s really where I met a lot of my friends who I still have to this day,” Malone said.