Wheelchair Sports Federation | Adaptive Sports Organization
Wheelchair Tennis Clinic (NJ) Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   


Participants, learn the basics of wheelchair tennis from Dylan Levine, center, a Paralympic wheelchair tennis player, who plays for the ITF Wheelchair pro tour. The event is sponsored by the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal in collaboration with the Paralympic Sport Club, the Children’s Lightning Wheels, the Wheelchair Sports Federation and USTA Eastern New Jersey. The three-hour tennis clinic was held at Rahway River Park and intended to encourage athletes, ages 10 years and older, with a physical disability, to become more active and be exposed to a new sport. RAHWAY , NJ 9/15/12 (Jennifer Brown/The Star-Ledger)

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 September 2012 19:07
U.S.wins five medals on day two of London 2012 Paralympic Games Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

August 31, 2012

LONDON – Team USA added five more medals its count on day two of competition at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, bringing its total medal count to 11.

Below is a brief recap of some of the day’s action. For more information and results visit
www.usparalympics.org and www.youtube.com/usparalympics.

Four years ago in Beijing, American archer and Army veteran Russell Wolfe (Widnoon, Pa.) competed in his first Paralympic Games. He finished 29th in his division and knew he wanted to
improve on that performance. On Friday morning under chilly conditions at the Royal Artillery Barracks, he did just that. Unfortunately for Wolfe, the afternoon match did not go as planned as he struggled with his form. The result was a 6-0 loss to Pellegrin, one of the favorites to medal in this event.

You can check out highlights and Wolfe’s reaction here: 

Team USA’s Joe Berenyi set a new world record on his way to winning the gold medal
in the men’s individual C3 Pursuit at the velodrome on Friday. After a hiccup at the starting line due to a mechanical issue, Berenyi (Aurora, Ill.) was issued a restart and proved his mental toughness by finish atop the podium with a time of 3:36.148. He set the world record earlier in the day during his qualification round.
Check out highlights from his gold medal race here:  http://youtu.be/4mKHauj8mNw
Donna Ponessa (New Windsor, N.Y.) piloted Wes Dunham's Western Rose to a score of
70.235% in front of the Ground Jury of Kjell Myhre, Sarah Rodger, Gudrun
Hofinga, Freddy Leyman and Anne Prain.

Riding in Grade 1a competition, Ponessa produced a steady, rhythmic test with the 9-year-old
Oldenburg mare to earn fifth place.

Kicking off racing for the U.S. was single sculler Ron Harvey (Downingtown, Pa.), a
nine-time national team veteran and two-time Paralympian, Harvey lined up with Great Britain’s Beijing Paralympic champion Tom Aggar, who has been unbeaten since his 2007 world championship debut, and didn’t disappoint his roaring home crowd in the grandstands today.

Aggar won the heat with open water in a 4:56.65, with Korea’s Jun-Ha Park and Brazil’s Luciano Luna de Oliveira going two-three. Harvey finished fourth in a 5:05.45.

U.S. trunk and arms mixed double sculls teammates Oksana Masters (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Marine Corps veteran Rob Jones (Lovettsville,Va.), needed to win in order to advance to the
final and avoid the repechage. Instead, they finished second to defending Beijing Paralympic champion China, who set a new Paralympic and world best time of 3:54.92. 

The U.S. duo will now need a top two finish in Saturday’s repechage in order to qualify for the final. France’s Stephane Tardieu and Perle Bouge advanced to the final from the first heat with a winning time of four minutes flat.

Swimmers Jessica Long and Navy Lt. Brad Snyder were golden Friday at the Aquatic Center.
Team USA claimed three swimming medals on the second day of competition, with Long’s world record breaking swim in the 400-meter freestyle (S8), Snyder’s first Paralympic gold in the  100m freestyle (S11) and Elizabeth Stone’s bronze in the 100m backstroke (S9).

Check out Snyder’s swim here: http://youtu.be/Hl3ep_Mb4aY 

Sitting Volleyball
It was a tough start to the London 2012 Paralympic Games for the U.S. Paralympic Women's
Sitting Volleyball Team. Team USA, the defending Paralympic Games silver
medalists, took on China, the reigning Paralympic Games gold medalists. Team
USA won the first set, marking the first time the U.S. has beaten China’s best,
and won eight of the first 10 points in the second set. But the Americans
ultimately fell 3-1, beginning competition at 0-1.

View highlights here:  http://youtu.be/xQ58x4qFCSE

The U.S. will continue preliminary pool-play action on Saturday against Slovenia.

Track & Field
Two-time U.S. Paralympian Scot Severn (Unionville, Mich.), a U.S. Army veteran, won a London 2012 Paralympic Games bronze medal in the men's shot put (F52/53) on Aug. 31. He threw 8.26 meters for a score of 884, edging out the fourth place finisher Ales Kisy of the Czech Republic by six points and .03 meters.Two-time U.S. Paralympian Scot Severn, a U.S. Army veteran, won a London 2012 Paralympic Games bronze medal in the men's shot put (F52/53) on Aug. 31. He threw 8.26 meters for a score of 884, edging out the fourth place finisher finisher Ales Kisy of the Czech Republic by six points and .03 meters.

View highlights here: http://youtu.be/d16wGpOADWA

Women’s Wheelchair Basketball
The U.S. Paralympic Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team dropped its second game of the preliminary rounds to Germany Friday at the Olympic Park Basketball Arena. The final score of the closely contested game was 54-48. At the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, the two teams
played for the gold medal.

View highlights here: http://youtu.be/6uor-1vS-pA 

Anyone interested in receiving our daily email updates, can sign up through this link:  https://app.e2ma.net/app2/audience/signup/1375448/24345/?v=a.

For complete Games results, you can visit www.london2012.com.

Go Team USA!

U.S. Olympic Committee, Paralympic Division
1 Olympic Plaza | Colorado Springs, CO 80909
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  | www.usparalympics.org
11th Annual Youth Track and Field Meet (NY) Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   


On Thursday August 9th at Icahn Stadium, Randalls Island NY, The CityParks Foundation held it's 11th Annual Youth Track and Field Meet. Children ages 5- 16 from 13 different parks competed againist each other in several athletic events. Included in the program for the third summer was the track and field program for students with special needs and physical disabilities. For five weeks this summer, over 140 student athletes with special needs from six area schools and the New York YMCA trained twice a week to compete with 1500 of their abled bodied peers. Pictured here is the group from the Cross Island YMCA after the meet. Congratulations to all the athletes and thanks to the CityParks Foundation.

Last Updated on Saturday, 25 August 2012 14:50
US 2012 Paralympics - TV and Online Coverage Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   
Aug. 14, 2012
U.S. Olympic Committee announces expanded coverage 
for London 2012 Paralympic Games
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Today the United States Olympic Committee announced broadcast and online coverage plans for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. By creating original video content for the U.S. Paralympics YouTube channel, YouTube.com/USParalympics, while also partnering with NBCUniversal and the International Paralympic Committee, U.S. Paralympics will provide the American public with more coverage of the U.S. Paralympic Team than any previous year.
Beginning on Aug. 29 and continuing through the conclusion of the Games on Sept. 9, U.S. Paralympics will provide 10 daily video highlights packages via its U.S. Paralympics YouTube channel. The videos will chronicle the competition, athlete stories and will also include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Videos chronicling the lead-up to the Games will also be available in late August.

“As one of only four National Olympic Committees that also manage the Paralympic program, we are committed to increasing Paralympic coverage in the U.S.,” said Scott Blackmun, chief executive officer of the USOC. “With this expanded approach to coverage, the USOC is making a significant investment in growing the Paralympic Movement in the United States and introducing more fans to Paralympic sport." 
In addition to the online content, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will air one-hour highlight shows on Sept. 4, 5, 6 and 11 at 7 p.m. EDT. Following the Paralympic Games, on Sept. 16, NBC will broadcast a 90 minute special from 2-3:30 p.m. EDT. All NBC and NBC Sports Network Paralympic highlight shows and specials will re-air on Universal Sports Network and UniversalSports.com.
"It's tremendous news that the London 2012 Paralympic Games will get more airtime in the US then ever before and thoroughly deserved," said Sir Philip Craven, International Paralympic Committee president. "Viewers online and on TV will see sport like never before, with elite athletes putting in some quite incredible performances."
The IPC, the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement, also recently announced its online coverage plans for the 2012 Paralympic Games, which will include broadcasting 580 hours of live sport from London 2012 on Paralympic.org during the competition.
During each day of London 2012, the IPC website will broadcast four streams of uninterrupted live coverage from the Paralympics with English commentary, including daily coverage of swimming, wheelchair basketball and athletics, while a fourth channel will cover a range of sports. A fifth channel will broadcast a mixture of sports with Spanish commentary.
In addition, more than 1,000 hours of sporting action from a number of venues, including individual races and matches, will be made available on Paralympic.org as video on demand during the course of the Games. Two daily five minute news bulletins will also be produced in English and Spanish.
The 2012 Paralympic Games will take place in London, England from Aug. 29-Sept. 9, featuring more than 4,000 athletes with a disability, from more than 160 countries. It is slated to be the largest Paralympic Games in history.
"The London 2012 Paralympics will break many records," Craven said. "They are set to be the first in the 52 year history of the Games to sell-out, with nearly 2.5 million tickets sold, and will be broadcast in more countries than ever before with a cumulated audience of 4 billion around the globe expected to tune in."

For more information, contact the USOC Communications division at 719-866-4529.
U.S. Olympic Committee, Paralympic Division
1 Olympic Plaza | Colorado Springs, CO 80909
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  | www.usparalympics.org
Wheels of Progress - Ironman NYC Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   


Great big THANKS to all who supported me (George Gallego) on this journey. It was certainly an awesome experience despite (as my friend Ronnie says) “the effort, the physical strain, the pain” that it took to do this. Next to “re-inventing myself” after my injury and the very dark years that followed, this was by far the hardest challenge I have embarked on thus far.

Just to keep perspective, my main reason for participating in the 2012 Ironman US Championship was not to win first place but to raise awareness and funds to help free young people with physical disabilities from institutional living. That being said, our goal was accomplished.

There are lots of Ironman stories to tell, but I’d like to offer a brief overview. I woke-up at 1AM to prepare to catch a ferry at the 39th Street Pier at 3:45AM, which would ultimately take me to the transition zone in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Once at the Transition Zone, I was formally introduced to my official handlers: Kathleen Mernin. James Mernin and Brian Gatens. The three of them have done a total of 8 Ironman races! I knew I was in good hands.

At 6AM, I boarded another ferry (along with all the Pro Men and Women) that took me to the swim start 2.4 miles north from the Ross Dock Picnic Area in New Jersey. The ferry ride seemed very, very long! I began to search for landmarks that would help me gauge where I was on the course once I began my swim. I slowly realized that there were only trees and quickly decided to start counting the massive buoys which lined the swim course, but there were too many to count! It was then that I decided that my only other option during the race was to count every stroke… I knew from my training that for every 12 strokes, I was able to swim a distance of 25 meters—I did the math and realized that I needed to stroke 1860 times to cover 2.4 miles. I decided to count every other stroke—so 930 became the magic number. That’s how I began my race—strategizing. That’s where all the fun began. I took my plunge 10 minutes after the Pro men dived into the Hudson River. Contrary to what most people believe, the swim was actually very peaceful: it was just my 930 and I!

I was out of the water 44 minutes after I entered it! At stroke #719, I clearly heard the first male Pro being announced as he exited the water and thought “Oh my God! I am almost there!” Ten minutes later, I was being fished out of the Hudson water at the swim exit!

Once in the transition zone, after only 7 minutes and 15 seconds of prep-time, my handlers made sure that I had everything I needed to begin the 112-mile bike journey ahead of me. James accompanied me on the bike course for the full time and Brian for the first 56 miles. The bike portion was VERY challenging—although manageable. My strategy was to complete a minimum of 27 miles every 2-2:20 hours. As far as nutrition was concerned, my plan was to consume a Rapid Energy Gel and 4-6 ounces of Accelerade fluids every 20 minutes. By the end of the 112 miles I consumed 32 energy gels and drank 6 liters of Accelerade fluids. 

A good friend always says to me "Life is what happens while we are making other plans." Well, I had mechanical issues with my hand-cycle, and I certainly didn't factor that into my plans. On mile 20, my brake cable severed. It took 15 minutes for the official "mobile bike repair technician" to arrive and another 5-10 minutes to replace the cables! That wasn't the end of it! Around mile 40 my brake cable failed again! So it took another 15-20 minutes to make the repairs! Don’t get me wrong; the mechanics did a fantastic job given the circumstances! So, in the end, I completed the 112-mile bike course in 10 hours. The problem was that I had a maximum of 9.5 hours to complete the course; I missed the bike "cut-off" by 30 minutes. I was not allowed to continue to the run course. Therefore, I never made it to the race finish line.

At the end of the bike course, as I was cycling towards the Transition Zone at about 18-20 mph, I was treated to a sweet surprise! On the ramp leading into the zone were my two favorite people: Julia and Ro!!! They were as surprised as I was to see them! It really was a sweet welcome to my unofficial finish line! Once I arrived at the “bike-in” entrance, my timing chip was removed from my ankle and I was officially out of the race.

In the transition zone, as I was transferring out of my hand cycle, I decided to sit on the grass and do a little regrouping. Again I was surprised to see two more people from the Wheels of Progress family: Jose Hernandez and his close friend Anthony who had made a terrific effort to get to the Transition Zone to greet me. Life is wonderful at times—my family and friends appeared when I needed them the most….

I thought I would be hugely disappointed if I didn’t complete the race, but I wasn't. I know that I gave it my all…the mechanical issues were totally out of my control, and most importantly, I raced for a reason--that mission was accomplished. I am not bitter at all. That's part of life. The better person is the one who can adapt to the circumstances and move on to the next thing. As a person living with a disability, I've learned to master the art of re-inventing oneself. This was another great learning experience for me I never doubted that I could do the distance; my only question was whether I could do that particular course within the time constraints—and I now know that I can. In addition, at the end of the day, it was a TEAM effort, and I ended the day with the people I care most about.

Oh, a reporter from Fios1 News did a 5-minute piece on my preparation for the Ironman. You can see her TV news report at:

Finally, after reflection, I realize that the Ironman race was training for the toughest challenge that’s yet to come: the creation our first affordable, accessible, supportive building for the folks we serve. I hope you will continue to be with us for the rest of the journey.




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Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 02:46
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