National Federation of the Blind Comments on Paralympic Withdrawal of Becca Meyers

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National Federation of the Blind Comments on Paralympic Withdrawal of Becca Meyers

Baltimore, Maryland (July 22, 2021): Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, made the following comments about the recent withdrawal of Paralympic swimmer Becca Meyers from the Tokyo games:

“The National Federation of the Blind is deeply disappointed by what we have heard about the Paralympic withdrawal of Becca Meyers, a gold-medal swimmer who is deafblind. It is disturbing, and ironic, that this outstanding athlete is experiencing barriers to participation in a sporting event specifically intended to be a showcase for the capacity and skill of disabled athletes. As an organization of blind and deafblind members, we affirm that individuals are generally the best judges of their accommodation needs. We believe that the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), in failing to consider Ms. Meyers’s own assessment of her needs, took away her individual dignity and autonomy. We therefore condemn the committee’s decision. We stand by Ms. Meyers, and in the future we urge the USOPC to call upon the expertise of our organization to better serve blind and deaf-blind athletes.”