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The U.S. Paralympics Swimming Insider For December 8, 2020

By Todd Kortemeier | Dec. 08, 2020, 6:24 p.m. (ET)

Every other Tuesday we scour the web for the latest going on in the world of U.S. Para swimming. Here’s what you missed!

Social Media Roundup

Everybody knows that Paralympians are some of the greatest athletes in the world. But then you see Jessica Long climbing a rope straight out of a pool like it’s nothing and you realize these athletes are simply on another level.

“I still got it,” said the 13-time Paralympic gold medalist.

Needless to say.

 

Long also got some international attention as she was featured on the Instagram page of the International Paralympic Committee. The IPC reshared Long’s post from Nov. 28 about normalizing disability.

“We have to change the narrative that people with a disability are less pretty, ‘normal,’ or valuable,” Long wrote in the post. “We are all different and our differences don’t take away from our worth.”

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Also getting some international attention was Breanna Sprenger, who was featured on the Instagram page of World Para Swimming.

“It's an honor when people call me an inspiration, but I'm just being me.” said Sprenger, who was born without legs and a right arm. “I'm a normal teenager, I just have some pieces and parts missing.”

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Dec. 3 was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and several Team USA swimmers took the opportunity to celebrate on social media. Paralympic gold medalist Mallory Weggemann talked about how far she has come over the years in living with her disability.

“Twelve years ago I didn’t know what was possible — I carried shame for the four wheels beneath me, feeling as if they were something to be wished away,” Weggemann wrote. “But now, now I know that they are a gift and throughout this journey I have done far more on four wheels than I ever did on two feet.”

Five-time Paralympic gold medalist Brad Snyder quoted Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton: “The only true disability is a negative attitude!" 

Lizzi Smith wished her followers a happy International Persons with Disabilities Day, noting the importance of person-first language. 

And Becca Meyers was joined as always by her dog Birdie: “Nothing slows Birdie and I down from achieving our goals and dreams!”

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Birdie also served as some proper motivation for anyone considering making a donation on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1. Meyers posted an adorable picture of Birdie as a 7-week-old pup while encouraging fans to donate to The Seeing Eye. The Seeing Eye trains seeing eye dogs like Birdie to assist the visually impaired. The sight of a cute puppy simply had to spur a ton of donations.

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Sophia Herzog announced that due to COVID-19 protocols shutting down her home pool, she will be moving back into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In the News

The Tokyo organizing committee announced a revised calendar for the postponed events of next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games. The swimming competition is scheduled for Apr. 24 and 25, 2021, taking place at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre that just opened in October. Test events are designed to see how well the venue will host competition, but also testing the technology and workforce of the venue. Next year’s test events will take on some added significance with the added question of how to implement COVID-19 protocols.

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In the continuing quest for equality between the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the latest milestone may take the form of … emojis? The organizers of the Paris 2024 Games have launched a campaign to create a series of the beloved icons to depict Paralympic sports. Emojis may be a small thing — literally — but as some athletes noted, they are an undisputed part of how people now use language, and their inclusion can only increase the visibility of Para sports.

“I am delighted Paris 2024 is launching this fantastic initiative,” said French Paralympic Sports Federation President Marie-Amelie Le Fur. “Emojis reflect society and have become a universal language, used by millions of people. Just like sport pictograms, Para-sport emojis will soon enjoy their own digital identity, which in itself is a stamp of recognition and inclusion that has a much bigger impact than you might think.”