"When courage, determination, passion, and pride collide, it just takes a journey of faith to pull it all together and present the Ninth Annual San Diego Triathlon Challenge."Challenged Athletes Foundation.
|Athlete Melanie Benn is shown with movie celebrities Jim Carrey and Robin Williams.|
The San Diego Triathlon Challenge, held annually by the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), Del Mar, California, drew 75 physically challenged athletes from around the world, plus several hundred other athletes and volunteers.
One of the participants in the November 3 event was Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah from Ghana. Two years ago, he asked the CAF for a mountain bike to ride across Ghana to encourage disabled persons and show the public what persons with disabilities can do. Then he took on the challenge of traveling outside his country for the first time in his life, going halfway around the world to attend the Triathlon Challenge.
The Triathlon raised $812,000, providing grants for disabled athletes to help them pay for equipment, coaching, training, and competition costs. A Half-Ironman, the event includes a 56-mile bike ride, a 1.2-mile swim, and a 13.1-mile run. Many professional athletes participate to help raise funds for disabled colleagues, notes CAF.
|Robin Williams receives a tag from teammate Rudy Garcia-Tolson as a member of Team Braveheart during the San Diego Triathlon Challenge.|
Overall winner was Paralympian Willie Stewart, a left transhumeral amputee. Muffy Davis won the 2002 "Most Inspirational Challenged Athlete of the Year" award. Skiing has been Davis' life since she was three years old. At age seven, she was racing. It looked as if Muffy would make it to the topwhen tragedy struck. The young skier crashed into a tree, crushing her back and leaving her a paraplegic.
After graduating from Stanford University, Davis decided to give ski racing another shot as a monoskier. As a member of the US Disabled Ski Team, she won three silver medals in the 2002 Paralympics and 25 World Cup medals, as well as a bronze medal at the 1998 Paralympics. She has been active in community service and in disabled sports organizations.
|Willie Stewart won the Ninth Annual San Diego Triathlon Challenge in a time of 4:42:40.|
A celebrity who has given much of himself to the event is Robin Williams, who has been involved since 1998. "The simple presence of this magnificent man is so powerful that it has helped double the size of this event and almost quadruple our fundraising efforts," says CAF. "He is humble? wants no attention or recognition. However, Robin is more than a movie star or Academy Award winner to the CAF. To us, he is a hero."
Other celebrities participating this year included movie star Jim Carrey; Will Ferrell, formerly of Saturday Night Live; and David James Elliott of JAG.
The organization, which began with friends assisting stellar disabled athlete Jim MacLaren, looks forward next year to celebrating a decade of helping disabled athletes achieve their dreams.
For more information, visit www.challengedathletes.org .