Ableism Becca Meyers

Becca Meyers And Ableism In The Olympics

Maryland Paralympian Becca Meyers honored after being forced to pull out of Tokyo Games

Madeleine O’NeillUSA TODAY NETWORKView Comments0:311:47

U.S. Paralympian Becca Meyers receives a citation from Gov. Larry Hogan.

Paralympic swimmer Becca Meyers received a citation from Maryland’s governor Monday, a week after the three-time gold medalist from Maryland pulled out of this summer’s Tokyo games because she could not bring her own personal care assistant.

Gov. Larry Hogan presented the award to Meyers at a ceremony recognizing the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Maryland is very proud to support your efforts to help the world understand that accommodations are not optional and that people with disabilities deserve access to participate and compete in the pool and in all aspects of life,” Hogan said, reading from the citation.

Meyers announced last week that she would not participate in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo because she could not bring her mother to serve as personal care assistant.

“I’m angry, I’m disappointed, but most of all, I’m sad not to be representing my country,” Meyers wrote on Twitter.

Meyers was born deaf and has progressive sight loss as a result of a genetic disorder called Usher Syndrome.

In an opinion piece for USA Today, Meyers wrote that the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee had denied her the use of a personal care assistant because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Meyers has been allowed to use a personal care assistant at international swim meets since 2017, she wrote.

“Athletes with disabilities are able to compete in a setting like the Paralympics because of (personal care assistants),” she wrote. “They help us navigate these foreign venues, from the pool deck, athlete check-in to finding where we can eat.”

Becca Meyers at the 2016 Rio Paralympics in Brazil.

As a Paralympic swimmer, Meyers won three gold medals and a silver medal at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

She won a silver and a bronze medal at the London Games in 2012.

Hogan and other Maryland officials called on the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to reverse its decision and allow Meyers to bring her mother to the Tokyo Games as her personal care assistant.

“Becca deserved to be able to compete,” Hogan said. “I’m unbelievably proud of her for having the courage to speak up and to speak out about this injustice.”Your stories live here.Fuel your hometown passion and plug into the stories that define it.Create Account

Maryland senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen also decried the committee’s decision.

“Becca should never have been asked to choose between her safety and her dream,” Van Hollen wrote on Twitter.

The Paralympic Games begin Aug. 24 in Tokyo.

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