As I was watching the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Paralympics in Rio last night, I kept hearing this year’s theme repeated over and over. “Everybody has a heart.” We all have a heart, which makes us all the same, when it comes down to it, and someone to be loved and acknowledged.
The stories of the struggles that the Paralympians have faced were shared as each team came out, and I was, being from the United States, especially keen to see Team USA. As Team USA came out, there at the forefront was their Flag Bearer, Allison Jones, who is participating in her eight Paralympic Games, and currently holds eight medals, with the hope of number nine from the 2016 Paralympics.
Jones is unique in many ways, including that she has competed in both the Summer Paralympics in cycling and in the Winter Paralympics in alpine skiing, and has won Gold medals in both. Simply amazing!
Born without a right femur and fitted with her first prosthetic at just six months old, Jones started on her athletic path when she was five and took up both bike-riding and skiing. She went on to compete in her first Winter Paralympics Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City and won two Silver medals.
This is Jones’ first Paralympic Games without her father, Jay Jones, who sadly passed away on July 4th in a single-engine experimental aircraft plane crash. However, she knows that her father will be with her in spirit as she competes in Cycling Road and Cycling Track.
Pedal on, Allison Jones! NTI will be cheering you on!
NTI places Americans with Disabilities in jobs nationwide. Individuals like Allison, come to NTI daily to discuss their options and find out if coming back to work once again. Not only are we disability advocates, but also mentors candidates, provide training, as well as job counseling. If you feel like you are ready and would like to learn more, feel free to visit our website at www.nticentral.org/learnmore.