Christian Long

Aimee Mullins: Running on High-Tech Legs

In TED Talks on April 11, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Reflection by DERON M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Aimee Mullins:  Running on High-Tech Legs

Many of you reading this post have participated in competitive sports at some point in your life.

Let me introduce you to Aimee Mullins. Aimee was born without fibulas in both legs and was a double amputee at age one. She has struggled he entire life to compete in various sports against able-bodied athletes. Her move to competing in track and field was anything but usual as she showed up at disability track meet out of the blue at age nineteen. This was the first stage of her decorated and inspirational career as an athlete. She went on from there to become a star on Georgetown’s track team. Aimee, under the guidance of her college coach, then competed in the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta.

Although she did not win her race, Aimee’s story is nothing short of inspirational.

Aimee’s ability to overcome the challenges life threw at her at such a young age gave her the competitive desire to not back down and never give up. The fact that she was able to compete in softball and skiing in high school against other athletes who had not had the setbacks that Aimee had also speaks of her desire to not quit, even when the odds were against her. Her competitive spirit brought her to that track meet in Boston and allowed her to win in a race that she, once again, was the underdog in. The other athletes all used the latest advanced styles of prosthetic legs made of carbon graphite while Aimee was stuck with her old legs made of wood. Aimee was born with talent too, but it is her desire to push on that allowed her to go to the Big East championship meet and eventually to the Paralympic Games.

As a runner, I cannot imagine how hard it must have been to: a) Get on a plane and go to a meet out of the blue and b) to run a race with barely any preparation. Going to meets is no easy feat. The rush of fear you feel before a race can sometimes be almost completely unbearable. That speaks volumes of Aimee’s courage to even consider showing up at a meet, not even including the fact that she had almost no training before showing up at the Boston meet. I cannot even imagine how nervous I would be if I had to run a race without training for a few months in advance. The fact that she won is even more astounding.

Aimee’s journey as an athlete has been anything but typical. She has gone from being just another young athlete with big dreams of competing in “prime time” to inspiring many others just like her across the globe with aspirations just like hers. Aimee sets a great example of how hard work and perseverance leads to a positive outcome in whatever field you put the effort into. Well done Aimee, well done.

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