Just the beginning for Jessica Lewis
Bermuda's first track athlete in the Paralympic Games has her sights firmly set on qualifying for the Rio Games in 2016.
Despite coming last in every race at the London Games in September, Jessica Lewis, said she did not consider the experience a failure, rather 'the beginning of my future'.
“Yes, it is true that I came last in every race at the London 2012 Paralympics but it is also true that I knew I would,” said Ms Lewis. “I knew that a medal was beyond my reach at this point. I knew that I did not have the body strength or necessary muscle mass. I knew that I had almost no chance against the older, and more experienced racers.
“But I also knew that I would put everything I had in to this impossible task because this was the beginning of my future.
“At 19 and in my first Paralympic Games I was not thinking of the present but planning for the future. I would learn, understand and improve in this cauldron of fire and be ready for Rio in four years time. Now that took courage. To put myself out there on a world stage knowing that expectations at home are so high. That's courage that inspires.”
Ms Lewis said she was one of just eight woman to qualify for the events she competed in, in London in the 100m and 200m “A” qualifying standard events and the “B” qualifying standard in the 400m.
“I am a Paralympian and that is something nobody can take away from me,” she said. “I earned the right to this title. I put my heart and soul into training and worked extremely hard to get there.”
Now Ms Lewis has returned to training three days in the gym with a personal trainer, 2 days a week in my track chair on a roller (a treadmill for her track chair), at Brock University where she is studying Therapeutic Recreation, and on the weekends again in her track chair on a roller with her coach, Ken Thom.
All of this training is aimed at getting her ready for the 2013 track racing season in which she plans to compete in 11 meets in North America and Europe, culminating with the International Paralympic Committee Worlds in Lyon, France in July.