Becca Meyers, a deaf and blind Paralympic swimmer who withdrew from the Tokyo Games after she said she was denied a request to bring her mother to serve as her personal care assistant, said the decision has “torn her apart.”
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee refused her request for her mother to serve as her personal care assistant in Tokyo, Meyers said.
“I’ve always been known as Becca the swimmer and not Becca the deaf-blind person. And now I feel very worthless as a person. For someone who trained five years for this moment, especially an extra year with the pandemic, it makes it all seem like it was for nothing,” she said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Meyers said that at the 2016 Games in Rio, she “fell apart” without her mom or a personal care assistant there.
The USOPC is providing a single personal care assistant for 33 American Paralympic swimmers, including nine who are visually impaired, according to Meyers.
“The bottom line is no one on that team is trained or certified to deal with blind or visually impaired swimmers, especially in my case as a deaf-blind athlete,” she said.
Her mother, Maria Meyers, said that Becca needs a one-on-one assistant to help her navigate the airport, dining halls and other venues.
“I’m there to just whisper in her ear, you know, ‘it’s on your left, it’s on your right, just to guide her and take care of her.’ I don’t have anything to do with the pool. That’s all her and the coaches. But they really have to have staff that knows how to orient and take care of these kids,” Maria Meyers said.
“This is her life. And they took that away from her. They took her moment to shine,” she added.