Para track & field athlete Scout Bassett poses for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympic shoot on November 22, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.
Social Media Roundup
World Para Athletics shared an up close and personal view of the concentration and athleticism of wheelchair racer Daniel Romanchuk. Romanchuk had a busy October, running both the Chicago and New York City marathons virtually from near his home in Illinois.
World Para Athletics also celebrated 300 days until the start of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2021. Track and field competition will take place from Aug. 27 through the final day of the Games, Sept. 5, 2021.
Wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden was one of many Team USA athletes active in encouraging her fellow Americans to vote. McFadden reshared a tweet applauding the inclusion of disabled people in a Biden speech.
Paralympic Scout Bassett was featured by the Women’s Sports Foundation, for whom she serves as an ambassador. A quote of Bassett’s was featured for #MondayMotivation: “Sometimes our greatest challenge is building the courage to start.”
In the News
Paralympic medalist Blake Leeper has been dealt a setback in his attempt to compete against able-bodied runners at the Olympic Games. Leeper, a double amputee, has been told that his prosthetics give him an unfair height advantage disproportional to what his natural height would be estimated to be with biological legs. Runner Oscar Pistorius faced similar challenges in his bid to compete in the Olympic Games, which he eventually did in 2012.
Leeper and his legal team pointed to several issues in their appeal, including that the Maximum Allowable Standing Height (MASH) standard used by Paralympic competitions. According to Leeper’s team, the standard is not designed for Black athletes. World Athletics, the world’s governing body for track and field, rejects this idea, stating they are aware of no inherent bodily dimensions for Black athletes from any other race. Leeper and his team plan to appeal the decision. One positive from the ruling is the decision that Leeper’s prosthetics do not give him an advantage over able-bodied athletes.
“Rising Phoenix,” a documentary featuring the stories of nine Paralympic athletes including Tatyana McFadden, is nominated for Best Sports Documentary in the Critics Choice
Documentary Awards, which will be announced on Nov. 16. … In news that should benefit all U.S. Paralympic sports, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced on Oct. 26 the hiring of Nitra Rucker as director of diversity, equity and inclusion. In this role, Rucker will lead the USOPC’s diversity and inclusion efforts both internally with its workforce and externally across the Olympic and Paralympic Movement. … The International Paralympic Committee announced it will field a six-person Paralympic Refugee Team to compete at next year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The 2016 Paralympic Games featured a refugee and asylee team competing as Independent Paralympic Athletes, but next year’s team will be the first dedicated refugee team in Paralympic history. … After successfully staging an international gymnastics meet on Nov. 8, the Tokyo 2020 commission is optimistic about hosting Olympic and Paralympic testing events as soon as March. The test event of Para track and field was one of the events impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Any events would be subject to rigid protocols such as the ones that affected the gymnastics meet, which included limited attendance, a two-week quarantine for every athlete upon arriving to Japan and restricted movement of each athlete between the venue and hotel.