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MANNMay08p32-37Sports.qxd

4/18/08

10:43 AM

Page 35

During his very first competition, and the first time he’d ever been in the ocean since his accident, a mix-up left him without a guide. Even the fully mobile athletes have a guide since the ocean waters can sometimes be tricky. But Jonathan never missed a beat, diving into the open water and finishing out his first half triathlon. Because Jonathan also lacks any dexterity in his hands, a result of the accident, his ability to grip or hold things can make a critical difference in competition.

With the bang of the gun, while all the other athletes run and dive into the

“His chair does not define who he is. There is so much to him, I can’t even tell you.”

water, Jonathan’s entry is less graceful. After a 1.2 mile swim, while the other competitors are scrambling onto the beach, tearing their wetsuits away from their bodies, Jonathan must readjust himself back into his wheelchair, wheel himself up to the changing station and, with the help of either Carrie or his trainer, wriggle out of the suit and transfer into his hand cycle. With up to six minutes already lost, he then must use a hand crank for the 56-mile trek. The combination of pedaling the 35-pound cycle with his 6’3”, 190-pound frame inside makes this the most difficult part of the race. Yet this stretch says so very much about who Jonathan is. While many mobile cyclists can, and do, get off their bikes

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35

MansfieldNOW May 2008

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