Posts tagged ‘Paralympics’

Emily Frederick Forged Her Own Path to Rio

Photo via Cardoni

If it wasn’t for an error on a GPS, it’s possible that Emily Frederick wouldn’t have found herself in Rio for the Paralympics last fall.

No, so she didn’t drive all the way down to Brazil on accident or anything like that. Frederick, an Alabama native who was born with dwarfism and stands 4-foot-1, needs special pedals to drive. When she was in high school and eager to get her license, her mother drove alone to a facility in Birmingham, Ala., called Lakeshore.

There are two Lakeshores in Birmingham. The one they needed was a rehabilitation center that had those pedal extensions; the other was a training facility for athletes with disabilities. They’re right next door to one another. The GPS brought Frederick’s mom—an assistant high school track coach—to the training facility. She got a tour and realized it was the perfect place for her daughter, who grew up playing sports but had stopped because she struggled to keep up with her teammates.

Initially, Emily wasn’t on board with her mother’s idea. (more…)

April 26, 2017 at 9:25 am 1 comment

Shawn Morelli Takes Home a Paralympic Gold

It took one day for a Penn State alumna to win a gold medal at the 2016 Paralympics. Shawn Morelli ’98 Behrend, a member of the United States Paralympic Cycling Team, took home the gold in the C4 classification of the 3,000 meter individual pursuit on Thursday. Athletes who compete under the C4 classification suffer from upper or lower limb impairments and low-level neurological impairment.

Morelli, an Army veteran who made her Olympic debut on Thursday at the age of 40, began cycling in 2009 after a tour of duty in Afghanistan. While serving as an engineer officer in 2007, Morelli suffered neck and nerve damage, brain trauma, and blindness in her left eye due to an IED explosion.

The gold medal came somewhat comfortably for Morelli, as her time of 3:59.407 was more than five seconds faster than her closest competitor. It was just below the world record time of 3:55.006—which Morelli set earlier this year.

UPDATE: Morelli won her second gold medal on Wednesday, as she came in first place in the road cycling time trial C4 classification. Her time of 29:45.40 was 30.32 seconds faster than the competitor who won the silver.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

September 13, 2016 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — March 10, 2014

Catching up with the BOT: The Board of Trustees’ latest meetings wrapped up Friday in Hershey, and as usual, Lori Shontz ’91, ’13g was on the scene. You can read her detailed coverage here and here.

Four the glory: David Taylor and Ed Ruth became Penn State’s first four-time Big Ten champions on Sunday, leading the Nittany Lions to their fourth straight Big Ten team title. Next stop: The NCAA championships, which start March 20 in Oklahoma City.

All downhill from here: You might have seen our post Friday on the U.S. Paralympic duo of visually impaired skier Staci Mannella and her guide, Kim Seevers ’86g. Turns out we’re not the only ones who realized Mannella and Seevers are a compelling story: The pair was featured Sunday in a New York Times story on these unusual partnerships on the slopes. Mannella and Seevers will go for gold this week in Sochi.

Talk to the Hand: New offensive line coach Herb Hand on Friday continued his utter dominance of the internet. He took a break from tweeting long enough to take part in an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit. Among the highlights, Hand revealed his favorite State College pizza spot, how he’s handling all this snow, and what he throws on the grill when his linemen come over for dinner.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 10, 2014 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

From The Magazine: Penn State in the Paralympics

Coronet Peak, NZ

Most of the world’s attention has turned away from Sochi, but for thousands of world-class athletes, the games are just getting started. The 2014 Paralympic Winter Games kicked off Friday, and among the American medal hopefuls is a young skier with strong Penn State ties.

Staci Mannella (above, right) is a fearless 17-year-old from New Jersey who suffers from achromatopsia, a congenital eye condition that severely limits her visual acuity and leaves her extremely sensitive to light. As such, she can only ski with the help of a guide—and that’s where Kim Seevers ’86g comes in. A life-long skier, Seevers (above, left) works with the New York-based Adaptive Sports Foundation, which is how she was paired with Mannella. This month, they’ll be on the hill in Sochi together, Mannella sometimes just a few feet behind Seevers as they head downhill at speeds reaching 60 mph.

Alumni Association members can read more about this dynamic downhill duo on page 28 of our March/April issue. In the meantime, some bonus video: Here are Mannella and Seevers in an interview with MSG Network, and below, the trailer for Partially Sighted. Wicked Fast, a documentary that tracks their progress toward Sochi.

Here’s wishing Staci and Kim the best of luck this week.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm 1 comment


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