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Brenna Huckaby fought for her start and takes gold: too disabled for Paralympics – Paralympics Newspaper

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At this point, the team reports to the Paralympics newspaper, a project of the Tagesspiegel and the German Social Accident Insurance. All the texts of our digital series can be found here. You can find all the latest news on our blog and on the social media channels of the Paralympics newspaper. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Our reader survey can be found here.

The fight paid off for Brenna Huckaby: the American snowboarder defended her title in the incline slalom at the Beijing Paralympics and previously won bronze in cross-country skiing. It’s a miracle that Huckaby was able to get back on the podium on Friday; after all, the double gold medalist at the 2018 South Korean games should not have competed. Only a court case in Germany made it possible to start in Beijing on short notice.

The initial class of 26-year-old Para-Snowboard Poster Girl had been withdrawn from the Paralympic programme. Not enough participants were found for the games in China among women with severe disability in one or moderate disability in both legs. Huckaby’s International Paralympic Committee (IPC) also rejected the possibility of taking the start in the category for less disabled cyclists or for men. The association emphasized that athletes with different disabilities should be prevented from competing against each other. It is about ensuring the fairness of the competition. However, Huckaby would have accepted a sporting handicap to begin with.

The mother of two, who had her right leg amputated after battling cancer at the age of 14, went public and sparked an outcry.

The IPC was disappointed

“I have long been a proud supporter of the Paralympic movement to be at the forefront of diversity and inclusion,” Huckaby wrote on her social media channels. “But when it comes to their flagship event, the Paralympics, my disability is the reason I am excluded.”

From her training in the mountains of Utah, Huckaby’s fight for the coveted participation in the Paralympic Games took her to Düsseldorf. Before the Higher Regional Court she went against the Bonn-based IPC. Huckaby won. The court followed her reasoning, according to which the exclusion of athletes with a high degree of disability due to the lack of participants violated antitrust law. As a monopolist, the IPC has a special responsibility.

Brenna Huckaby fell early in the final but still finished in third place.Photo: IMAGO/GEPA images

The association was disappointed, writing in a statement about a “surprise” that Brazilian IPC president Andrew Parsons wanted to link to a “lack of understanding of the ranking system.” For the IPC, it seemed, the case was bigger than the question of whether or not Huckaby would start: the world association fears the forced rule change in rankings could lead to a wave of lawsuits.

For Huckaby, the games are a success

In addition to Huckaby, Cecile Hernandez of France, who won gold in snowboard cross, also got her entry permit for the Paralympic Games. Integrity and the desire to protect more disabled athletes were not violated in Beijing. On the contrary: Hernandez and Huckaby had shown that they can also compete at a world level in a higher starting category, and even finish right at the front.

“This medal means more to me than any gold I’ve ever won,” said Huckaby after his third place finish in snowboard cross: “This medal represents all the people who have been told ‘no’ but still give it.” everything. This medal goes to the people who were silenced on purpose, but decided to stand up and stand up for what’s right.” On Friday, the American was better, winning the incline slalom ahead of four Chinese women. first race, Hu Nianjia was still ahead, but in the end he returned to fourth place.

For Huckaby, the games are a resounding success. You might think that the IPC might actually be pleased that one of the best-known athletes in Beijing is drawing some much-needed attention. But for the association, the headache could only begin: it remains to be seen if more athletes will find their way through the courts to allow their participation. The IPC already has cause for concern: Lawyer Christof Wieschemann, who represented Huckaby and Hernandez, told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” that more than ten para-athletes from running disciplines whose competitions were canceled had contacted him.




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