Triathlon: Paratriathletes Applaud Paralympics Announcement Sarah Reinertsen has completed the Hawaii Ironman in Kona and dozens of other triathlons. But the 35-year-old athlete, has never had the opportunity to compete in the Paralympics as a triathlete.
long histories with the Paralympics, which also includes sports such as archery, fencing, and soccer. There also are wheelchair versions of basketball, rugby, and tennis.
Paralympic athletes compete by gender in six categories: amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, wheelchair, visually impaired, and “les autres,” which is French for “the others” and refers to conditions that do not fall within the other five classifications.
Within the six categories, athletes compete according to level of impairment. Leg amputees, for instance, are grouped as below-the-knee or above-knee.
Triathlon debuted as an Olympic sport in Sydney in 2000 and, along with paracanoe, brings the total number of Paryalympic sports to 22. The Rio Paralympics will take place from Sept. 7-18, 2016.
Brazil has a strong triathlon presence, hosting five XTERRA series events in 2010, along with Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events. With ocean swims and breathtaking scenery for the bike and run, it’s a popular travel triathlon destination.
That will be a change of scenery for Sandy Dukat, 38, who had her right leg amputated above the knee at the age of 4. An accomplished triathlete, she’s perhaps best known for winning medals in alpine skiing at the Winter Paralympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 and in Turin in 2006.
“I know the value of competing in the Paralympic Games so to think of another sport added to the Games is overwhelming to think about,” Dukat says. “This gives another group of athletes a chance to demonstrate their athletic abilities. “
Reinertsen, who in 2005 became the first woman to complete the Hawaii Ironman on an artificial leg, competed in the women’s 100 meters at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona. The world record holder going into the Games, she tripped in the semifinals and did not reach the finals.
“On a personal level it would be a wonderful opportunity to get a second chance to bring home a medal,” says Reinertsen, who like Martin wonders if she’ll be too old to qualify in 2016. “But the bigger picture is that this will provide a wonderful opportunity for athletes with disabilities.”