Episode III Premieres Thursday, September 3 at 9pm EDT on Outside TV
Inclusivity has long been a hallmark of XTERRA and ever since Paul Martin conquered the grueling XTERRA World Championship on one-leg in 1996, athletes with all kinds of physical challenges have been invited to participate, persevere, and excel in the sport.
In this episode of XTERRA Adventures we meet four of the sports’ most inspiring athletes; Jamie Whitmore, Willie Stewart, Jiachao Wang, and Judy Abrahams.
Whitmore (pictured above) won an unprecedented 37 XTERRA World Tour majors before being diagnosed with cancer in 2008. The subsequent removal of her gluteus and hamstring left her without the use of her lower left leg, and she was told she would never ride or run again – let alone compete in XTERRA – but she did both and went on to win Paralympic gold.
For Willie Stewart, the first athlete with one-arm to race XTERRA thanks in large part to receiving a prosthetic arm from the Challenged Athletes Foundation - whose mission is to help those with disabilities reach their athletic goals - it’s all about getting in the game.
“The first time I ever put on a prosthetic arm was when I did XTERRA in 2004,” said Stewart, who has been racing off-road ever since. “It's like, you can do anything, but you can't do anything unless you get the guts, the courage to get on that starting line.”
Jiachao Wang from China lost his arm in an electrical accident when he was just five years old, but that didn’t slow him down. He learned to swim by himself in a river by his house, and went on to become a world-class swimmer and now has his sights set on the Tokyo Paralympics.
Two-time XTERRA PC Division World Champion Judy Abrahams, a below-knee amputee, has overcome obstacle after obstacle in the years since a bike accident changed her life and has this advice for those facing tough times of their own.
“Yeah, some times are hard but you can get through them, you can pull through them,” said Abrahams. “And it's not bad all the time. There are some great days out there, you just have to sometimes fight a little harder for them, but it's well worth it.”