Mallory Weckmann: ‘Swimming saved my life,’ says five-time Paralympic medalist

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It was then that 18-year-old Wekman was injected with an epidural for back pain, which eventually left her paralyzed from the waist down due to complications of the procedure. “It’s with me every day on the four wheels below me.”

Forced to negotiate a new lifestyle, the woman from Minnesota remembers how she felt over the next few months.

“I don’t know what life with freezing will be like or what it means to my future. Everything around me has changed the way I moved, the way I looked, the reflection in the mirror,” says Weckmann CNN Sports Coy Wire. .

Attempting to think ahead of his new path, Weckman returned to an old interest.

“When I went back to the pool, I realized it was the only place that didn’t change: water, water, chlorine. It bridged me into my past and gave me a path.”

“Swimming really saved my life in so many ways,” Weckman insists when he says.

Mallory Weckman says, after her stroke, swimming "It really saved my life in so many ways."

One of the reasons why Wekman found it so difficult to accept his disability beyond physical challenges was the figure of the disabled.

“We see disability in society as something to be pitied about: the result of a bad situation. We do not see the potential to be inside.”

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With a long list of achievements, Weckman is an example of that ability. Most people know his name from his athletic achievements; He has been a key figure in USA swimming since the 2009 World Championships, and he recently won two gold and one silver at the late Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

But Weckman, who has grown so proud of his disability, immediately points out that it is not his full identity.

“Society wants to put me in the box of what a disabled life should be like. The truth is, I’m been married for five years, dreaming of a family, I’m a business owner, an athlete. Not everything the community says. People like me.”

With the book “Limitless” hitting the shelves earlier this year, the author did not mention the title.

Weckmann won two gold and one silver at this year's Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Weckman is particularly proud of his business TFA team, which seeks to “change the perception of disability in our community through the power of storytelling.”

Weckmann and her husband Jay are co-CEOs and work diligently to spread the success story of Suffering through programs such as the “Impact Films” series of short films about athletes living with disabilities found on major streaming sites.

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But even his work with the TFA has brought Weckman back to the water. One such project he worked on was the 2018 short film “Amazing Grace,” the story of 14-year-old Grace Punke, a fellow swimmer who struggled with childhood cancer and failed.

Weckman had the opportunity to swim and spend a day with Grace in 2018, and the young athlete’s interest in fundraising for childhood cancer research had a lasting impact on the American Paralympians, leading to a documentary describing Grace’s war.

Weckman swam in memory of Grace at the “Swim Across America” ​​event in Atlanta earlier this year. He was joined by Grace’s mother Vicky, who swam 14 meetings in memory of her daughter (one for each year of Grace’s life) sponsorships and proceeds from the race for cancer research.

“Grace is a young woman, energetic about herself, and she’s able to communicate with everyone around her. And Vicky bravely shares Grace with the world, so swimming with her is so special.”

For Weggemann, swimming and sports in general "It would be a beacon for doing something that has the power to change lives."

For Wekman, it is a reminder of what his favorite swimming sport can accomplish beyond discussions about the pool, medals, accolades or shortcomings.

“It’s a reminder of how far the game can go. It has nothing to do with swimming and winning races. It’s about using the game for good and allowing it to be a beacon for doing something life changing.”

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A five-time Paralympic medalist, Swim just helped her understand her situation, but Weckman believes her message will resonate beyond the sport.

“We all carry moments that bring shock, grief, loss and suffering. But at the end of the day, we’re more than our situation. Beyond listening to my story, I hope it inspires people to respect their own self.”

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