Stefanie Reid Q&A: Paralympian, model and inspiration
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Among her glittering
1.) What’s the toughest part about excelling as an athlete with a disability?
The tough part is that you have the same challenges as every other athlete, but on top of that, you have to deal with the additional expenses, additional time commitments, additional stresses that come with having an artificial leg or a wheelchair or a guide runner. But I don’t necessarily view this as a negative. Tough things make you tough, and teach you to be a creative problem solver.
2.) Do you think your appearances in Vogue and beyond can help women with disabilities to be more body confident?
My hope is that it makes everyone more body confident. I want all women to be empowered to choose what they think is beautiful, and not just go with what a beauty editor decides is “normal”. An increase in the variety of bodies we see in media is an important step in the right direction.
3.) What’s the proudest moment of your career so far?
It is my gold medal in the long jump at London 2017. It took me 11 years to finally win a global title! But the best part about it was the hug and celebrations from my coach, Aston Moore, along with the congratulations from my competitors and their coaches. I have known many of my competitors a long time. We have witnessed each other’s ups and downs, and it meant so much that they were celebrating alongside me!
4.) Was it tough switching from rugby to athletics at first?
It was tough because I loved rugby so much and it was really hard to let my original dream go. But you have to follow where opportunity takes you instead of sitting on the
5.) How quickly after your accident did you get back into
I was back on a volleyball court about 5 months after my accident, and back trying to play rugby 8 months later. But the truth is, it didn’t go so well. It was too soon for my body. My residual stump had a hard time dealing with the impact of running. Running was painful after a few minutes and my skin would blister and
6.) How did you juggle athletics with your studies, while at University, and how have
Simple – I didn’t sleep. I don’t recommend it! I was on an academic scholarship which meant that I had to study a lot, I was trying to qualify for international meets, and I wanted to enjoy my time at university. Something had to give, and in this
I am so thankful for my amazing education at Queen’s University followed by a year studying theology at Regent College. I admit I no longer have the periodic table memorized, and I would probably struggle to solve a calculus equation. But the point of an education is to learn how to problem solve, how to think independently, and how to be a lifelong learner. I use these skills every day in my sport and in my life.
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