Alicia Dana rides during the Women's Individual H 1-3 Road Race at the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Sept. 7, 2012 in Longfield, England.
It’s easy to get caught up in the staggering whirlwind of 2020 so far. History books will note the past 11 months as a world caught up in the COVID-19 pandemic, sports at all levels pausing or canceling events, economic turmoil and an American election that remains in the news.
But it’s also a great time to pause right now. Even if celebrating Thanksgiving was different this year, with smaller gatherings and Zoom and Facetiming friends and family as part of the day.
Many were reflecting on life, and counting blessings, as part of this American holiday ritual. Several American Para-cycling stars shared what was on their minds and in their hearts at Thanksgiving.
Paralympic hand-cycling silver medalist Alicia Dana has been busy working on her house in Vermont, and keeping her training going for 2021. Dana’s schedule for this year looked different than she planned, thanks to the cancelation of events and the moving of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 to 2021.
Dana had entered 2020 thinking she would retire after her third Paralympic appearance. This Thanksgiving would be the first in a long time where she would be off her bike and starting the next phase of her life.
Then the curveballs of 2020 came, and she is delaying that retirement for a year. Now, she is still training hard to be her best for her 2021 schedule and close out her career on her terms.
She said she is grateful for a lot of things in her life:
“I am thankful for the Para-cycling/cycling community, that inspires and motivates me, and from whom I learn and grow as an athlete,” Dana said. “I'm thankful to U.S. Paralympics Cycling for providing the support and rewards structure that allows me to compete at a high level in an incredible sport. I am thankful to my family and friends for their invaluable moral support and love. I am grateful to the designers, fabricators, engineers of handcycling technology for continuously improving the machine and therefore the experience. I am grateful to excellent and competent bike mechanics who save my butt and keep me on the road. Last, but not least, I am grateful to my cat for always being there for me at the end of the day...”