Paralympic Athlete Diary – Part 3

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – The Paralympics will be held in the same facilities as the Olympics. Here are more coments from USA swimmer, Karen Norris.

I got my competition suit last night. It is a
FastSkin, although it is a SlowGettingInto suit.
Actually, it is a PainfullToGetInto suit. They
designed these suits with teenage girls in mind, not
women with hips! I'm going to try it in the pool
today. Then I'll decide whether it's worth the pain.
Vey slick looking and the fabric is quite interesting.

Weather has been very cold and windy. "Fresh winds" is
how the Aussies describe it.

The Village is getting very crowded. It's hard to imagine the Olympic athletes here. I've seen a map
of the Olympic Village and it wasn't much larger. Of
course, some sports were housed elsewhere, but still,
this place must have been packed.

There are quite a few buses running a continuous loop
through the Village, but often the first and sometimes
the second bus that passes our stop is full. So the
fastest way to get anywhere is to walk. There are
hills, so any walk (especially carrying backpack and
crutches) is an effort. The wheelies need help, so I'm
often giving pushes up the hill, too. I don't have to
worry about my legs getting out of shape.

Some countries don't have any notions about "queueing
up" (getting in line) so often there's a lot of pushing and shoving. This holds for the buses and the food stations in the cafeteria. So I just try to allow a bit more time.

There is a facility where we can drop off our laundry.
We were given mesh bags in which to stuff our dirty
clothes. These bags are then turned in and then dropped in a washer. I figured that we'd get our
clothes back all wadded up in the bag. But no!!! The
clothes were neatly folded in the bag. How nice!

Now, for the FastSkin swim suit. Not only is it
painful to put on, it's painful to wear. The designers
did not consider that some people (me) might have big
thighs (cycling? using one leg more than the other?
just plain fat?). The cuff of the knee-length suit
cuts into my leg, so I'm going to do a bit of
snipping. The shoulders of the suit are also painful. I will not wear the suit for any race longer than 100m. The suit is just too constrictive. It did feel good in the water though.

I'm off to a team meeting. We're going to work on some
cheers for poolside. Then we're off to the US flag
raising. Then, I've got a massage booked! :-) I'll
have a casual dinner after that and bedtime. I need
some sleep.

Til later!

-Karen

Sites covering the Paralympics:

www.paralympic.org
www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/paralympics/
www.wemedia.com

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