Wednesday, August 29, 2012

natalia partyka, olympic paralympian.

natalia partyka is a 23yo table-tennis player from poland
who happens to have been born without her right hand & forearm.
partyka, along with south african "blade runner" oscar pistorius,
are the only athletes to compete in both the olympic & paralympic london 2012 games.

it was partyka's second olympics & fourth paralympics;
in 2008 in beijing, she earned a paralympic gold in individual competition
& a team silver. this year, she made it to the final 32
in women's olympic singles table tennis; the paralympics are still underway.

partyka began playing table tennis at 7yo,
in order to be able to beat her four-years-older sister, sandra.
by the age of eleven, natalia was at her first paralympics,
the youngest athlete to compete in any sport at the games.

partyka's disability affects only her serve —
rather than tossing the ball into the air with the non-dominant hand,
she cradles the ball in the crook of her right elbow,
& simply drops her right arm & swings to serve the ball with her left hand.

partyka is currently ranked number 68 in the world.

"i can show people that nothing is impossible," she says.
"maybe being disabled makes things more difficult than for able-bodied people,
& maybe we have to work a little harder.
but we can do anything we want to do if we just try.
maybe someone will see me & realize their own disability is not the end of the world,
that they can achieve bigger dreams than they had imagined."

maybe somebody already has.

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