Who is Becca Meyers? Deaf-blind swimmer quits Tokyo Paralympics as carer mom 'isn't allowed'
US swimmer Becca Meyers announced her decision to withdraw from the Games on Tuesday, July 20
Almost a month before the Tokyo Paralympics start, a deaf-blind athlete pulled out of the Games. Tokyo Paralympics are scheduled to begin on August 24. US swimmer Becca Meyers announced her decision to withdraw from the Games on Tuesday, July 20.
Meyers quit Olympics because her 'carer mom is not allowed to travel with her' due to COVID. Meyers had requested that her mom Maria be allowed to come with her as her personal care assistant (PCA). Officials, however, denied her request stating she would have to use the same PCA as 33 other athletes. "Heartbroken to share that I’m withdrawing from the Tokyo Paralympic Games. The USOPC has repeatedly denied my reasonable and essential accommodation because of my disability, leaving me no choice, " Meyers wrote on Twitter.
Becca Meyers suffers from Usher syndrome, she has been deaf since birth and lost her eyesight gradually. She won three gold medals in Rio 2016. Announcing her decision, Meyers released a statement on Twitter that said, "I've had to make the gut-wrenching decision to withdraw from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. I'm angry, I'm disappointed, but most of all, I'm sad not to be representing my country. The USOPC has denied a reasonable & essential accommodation for me, as a deaf-blind athlete, to be able to compete in Toyko, telling me repeatedly that I do not need a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) ‘who I trust’ because there will be a single PCA on staff that is available to assist me and 33 other Paralympic swimmers, 9 of whom are also visually impaired. The USOPC has approved me having a trusted PCA (my mom) at all international meets since 2017, but this time it’s different." The statement further added, "With COVID, there are new safety measures and limits of non-essential staff in place, rightfully so, but a trusted PCA is essential for me to compete. So, in 2021, why as a disabled person am I still fighting for my rights? I’m speaking up for future generations of Paralympic athletes in hope that they never have to experience the pain I’ve been through. Enough is enough."
Heartbroken to share that I’m withdrawing from the Tokyo Paralympic Games. The USOPC has repeatedly denied my reasonable and essential accommodation because of my disability, leaving me no choice. Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/p9tKsbPip2— Becca Meyers (@becca_meyers) July 20, 2021
The USOPC spoke of the matter and said, "We are dealing with unprecedented restrictions around what is possible on the ground in Tokyo. As it’s been widely reported, [the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games], at the direction of the government of Japan, is not permitting any personnel other than operational essential staff with roles related to the overall execution of the games, into the country." The statement further added, "This position has resulted in some athletes advising us that they will not accept a nomination to Team USA for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are heartbroken for athletes needing to make agonizing decisions about whether to compete if they are unable to have their typical support resources at a major international competition, but our top priority is ensuring the safety of our athletes, coaches, staff and the citizens of the host country."