8 Olympians Who Overcame Their Disabilities To Win At The Olympic Games. #8 Is Unbelievable
What do Polish table tennis player Natalia Partyka, Iranian archer Zahra Nemati and U.S. women’s basketball forward Tamika Catchings have in common?Credit
They are all part of a small group of athletes who overcame severe disabilities to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Partyka does not have a forearm, Nemati shoots from her wheelchair and Catchings has severe hearing loss, but through sheer grit and determination they rose to the very top of the sport. But, they are not the first disabled athletes in history to do so, and they are definitely not the most successful ones. Here are 8 Olympians who overcame their disabilities to triumph at the Olympics Games.
1. George EyserCredit
George Eyser was a German-born American gymnast that competed at the 1904 Olympic Games. What was unique about Eyser was that he was an amputee – he lost his left leg in a childhood train accident. He started out poorly, but ultimately he won six medals, including three golds.
2. Carlo OrlandiCredit
Italian boxer Carlo Orlandi was the first deaf athlete to ever compete at the Olympics Games. He won four straight fights at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, taking home the gold in the lightweight category.
3. Oliver HalassyCredit
A childhood streetcar accident resulted in Halassy having his left leg amputated. That didn’t stop him from becoming one of the best players in the Hungarian water polo team that won the silver at the 1928 Olympics and two back-to-back golds at the 1932 and 1936 Games.
4. Karoly TakacsCredit
Hungarian army sergeant Karoly Takacs was one of the world’s most prominent pistol shooters until a military training exercise went horribly wrong which resulted in a faulty grenade exploding and permanently mutilating his right hand. That wasn’t a problem for Takacs, who was determined to learn how to shoot with his left. He did, and he even set a world record for the rapid-fire pistol event at the 1948 Olympics. He took home a second gold medal at the 1952 games.
5. Lis HartelCredit
Lis Hartel was a talented equestrian, but an attack of polio paralyzed her from the waist down, which hampered her prospects of having a successful career. After some intensive physical therapy she regained muscle use above her knees and returned to riding. Despite needing assistance to mount and dismount a horse, she won silver at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
6. Neroli FairhallCredit
Although paralyzed from the waist down, New Zealand Archer Neroli Fairhall won the gold at the 1982 Commonwealth Games and came 35th at the 1984 Olympics that were held in Los Angeles. She’s the first ever wheelchair-bound athlete to compete in the Olympics.
7. Jeff Float
The United States swimmer became legally deaf after viral meningitis decimated most of his hearing. He swam for the U.S. team in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay and during the final he extended the team’s lead to secure them the gold medal. The crowd roared so loudly that prompted him to say that for the first time ever he could actually hear them.
8. Jim AbbottCredit
Abbott was born without a right hand, but that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the best pitchers of his generation. He was chosen to represent the U.S. baseball team at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul in what was a demonstration tournament, four years before baseball became an official Olympic sport. The U.S. team won gold that year and Abbott went on to have a successful career in Major League Baseball, with 87 wins and a 4.25 ERA.