Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Athlete of the Whatever Time Frame You Choose

For rest assured what were professional reasons, I was reading the latest issue of "International Gymnast" magazine the other day. Amidst considerable amounts of piffle, there was one of the most astounding sports stories I ever read. Perhaps I should strike the word "sports" from my last sentence, too.

I did not read the magazine on-line, so no links. Besides, relating Shoha Qadir's life story is fun.

Qadir is an Iraqi Kurd born in 1975. When he was 13, the Iraqi air force bombed his village, and Qadir was wounded. He wound up with both legs amputed below the knee.

After the routine harrowing adventures, Qadir wound up living in London, without his legs, but still in possession of his love of athletics. He didn't become a broadcaster or blogger. Qadir took up wheelchair marathoning. He got pretty good at it, too.

Wheelchair marathoning wasn't enough of a challenge for Qadir, so one time he did the 26 mile race on crutches. At the Berlin Marathon last year, Qadir walked the last 100 yards on his hands.

By now, marathoning is only a hobby for Qadir. His current sports pursuit is gymnastics. His event is the rings. Qadir can't perform the swinging routines that are the core of that discipline, but on the other hand, no other gymnast on earth can do his rings specialty-push ups-either.

As road racing coach and man-about-town Bill Squires would say, Qadir is a true studly. If you've read this far, your arm muscles should be clenching with pain. Stories like his are one of my favorite parts of sports. Athletics is one area where human beings acknowledge no limits to their potential. Imagination and determination can and do conquer all. It'd be nice if we felt the same way about more important parts of society, but hey, one's way better than none.

I was tired this evening, and I'm still grill grieving for my dog. Didn't much feel like blogging, to tell the truth.

Funny thing though. Once you've learned about Shoha Qadir, excuses get much, much harder to make.


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