USOPC confident in level of support it provides to Paralympic athletes
Posted On July 21, 2021
TOKYO – Paralympic swimmer Becca Meyers withdrew from the Tokyo Games because she said the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee had not accommodated her personal care assistant.
Meyers, a deafblind person born with Usher syndrome, wrote in a USA TODAY editorial that the USOPC had not approved its PCA, which can help athletes navigate unfamiliar environments and situations.
Meyers’ mother, Maria, has been his PCA in other international competitions, according to the Washington Post. Tokyo organizers have banned foreign visitors, including families of athletes, from the games and restricted other participants due to coronavirus concerns.
“I firmly believe that the staff reduction was not intended to reduce the number of critical support staff for Paralympians, like PCAs, but to reduce the number of non-essential staff,” wrote Meyers, who won three. gold medals, two silver and one bronze. in two previous games.
“Athletes with disabilities can compete in a setting like the Paralympic Games through PCAs.”
The USOPC took issue with Meyers’ characterization that it should rely on a single PCA for the entire US team.
As the pandemic has forced a reduction in accredited support staff in Japan, the USOPC said a PCA with 11 years of experience with para-swimmers would be assigned to the team. This person is supported by 10 other staff, the USOPC said.
“The decisions we have made on behalf of the team have not been easy and we are heartbroken for the athletes who may not have access to their previous support resources,” USOPC said in a statement. “We are confident in the level of support we will provide to Team USA and look forward to providing them with a positive athletic experience even in the most unprecedented times.”
The Paralympic Games take place from August 24 to September 5.