Paralympic triathlon champion Allysa Seely dreams of taking para-sport to new heights
Updated: 2021-09-13 17:45:59 KST
For two-time Paralympic triathlon champion Allysa Seely, swimming, cycling and running is a way of life.
The triathlon's what kept her going when all hope seemed to be lost a 2010 diagnosis of a string of health problems affecting her brain, spine and connective tissue and the amputation of her left leg below the knee three years later.
"Through the hard times in sport, or the hard times in life, I really relied on sport to get me through. I've always been an athlete and a competitor and when I acquired my disability, that didn't change."
Despite the immense odds, Seely persevered going on to make history winning gold in triathlon's debut at the Paralympics in Rio 2016.
But Tokyo 2020, held amid a pandemic and delayed by a year, presented its own hurdles.
"There were definitely days I questioned if Tokyo was going to still be an option. The infection in my heart led to blood clots and multiple other complications that took me entirely out of training in sport for four and a half months and then I had to slowly build back in after losing twenty pounds of muscle."
They too were conquered though as she went on to defend her title in Japan.
The only thing that's left for the American now is to change how society views the physically and mentally impaired.
"Disability is a minority and often times, seen as lesser than, which creates a lot of problems, additional stress and anxiety the stereotype needs to go away and we need to start seeing individuals with a disability as having worth and having value and being capable and able to participate in all facets of life."
Seely's nowhere near done with her career.
She's eyeing another gold medal in Paris and by then, hopes to edge one step closer to a lifelong dream.
"Because at the end of the day, the medals are amazing but I want to leave a legacy bigger and better than that. I want to make sure that individuals all around the world no matter their disability or their circumstances have the opportunity to try sport and enjoy sport."
A dream that'll see more sporting greatness at the Paralympics.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.