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A deaf-blind swimmer pulled out of the Olympics because her mother – who doubles as her caretaker – is not allowed to travel with her

Summary List PlacementParalympian swimmer Becca Meyers informed Team USA that she is withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics on Monday. Meyers, who suffers from Usher syndrome, which has caused her to go deaf and blind, became one of Team USA's most accomplished Paralympians over the last nine years. She made her Olympics debut at the London games in 2012, winning two silver medals, and then won three gold medals in Rio in 2016.  Tweet Embed: //twitter.com/mims/statuses/1417448304535814145?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Heartbroken to share that I'm withdrawing from the Tokyo Paralympic Games. The USOPC has repeatedly denied my reasonable and essential accommodation because of my disability, leaving...

Becca Meyers

Summary List Placement

Paralympian swimmer Becca Meyers informed Team USA that she is withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.

Meyers, who suffers from Usher syndrome, which has caused her to go deaf and blind, became one of Team USA’s most accomplished Paralympians over the last nine years. She made her Olympics debut at the London games in 2012, winning two silver medals, and then won three gold medals in Rio in 2016. 

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1417448304535814145?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Heartbroken to share that I’m withdrawing from the Tokyo Paralympic Games. The USOPC has repeatedly denied my reasonable and essential accommodation because of my disability, leaving me no choice. Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/p9tKsbPip2

 

But her mother, Maria Meyers, who also serves as her Personal Care Assistant (PCA), is not allowed to travel to this year’s Olympics.

The Japanese government has placed limitations on who is and isn’t allowed to travel to Tokyo as part of the Olympic delegation. But Meyers blamed the United States Olympics & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) for the restriction on her mother’s attendance in a Twitter post on Tuesday. 

“I’m angry, I’m disappointed, but most of all, I’m sad to not be representing my country,” Meyers wrote. “The USOPC has denied a reasonable and essential accommodation for me, as a deaf-blind athlete, to be able to compete in Tokyo, telling me repeatedly that I do not need a PCA ‘who I trust’ because there will be a single PCA on staff that will be available to assist me and 33 other Paralympic swimmers, nine of whom are also visually impaired.”

The USOPC chief of sport performance Rick Adams told Becca’s father Mark Meyers in June that organizers and the Japanese government prohibited the attendance of her own PCA due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Japan in an email obtained by The Washington Post

“There remain no exceptions to late additions to our delegation list other than the athletes and essential operational personnel per the organizing committee and the government of Japan,” Adams wrote. “As I said to you both on the phone and over email, I fully empathize with your concerns and wish we could find a way as we have in the past.”

However, the Meyers family reportedly contacted the Japanese government and was told that Meyers could bring her mother if the USOPC allocated a credential for her, according to The Washington Post.

“We contacted the Maryland secretary of state,” Mark Meyers told The Washington Post. “We had somebody contact the Japanese government, the ambassador — they all say it’s not the government [and] it’s not the organizing committee. It’s the USOPC that’s blocking this.”

The USOPC responded to those allegations by re-stating that it is the Japanese government restricting who can come in and out of the country, according to The Washington Post.

Insider has reached out to the USPOC for comment but has not received a response at the time of publication. 

If Meyers does go through with holding out of the Tokyo Olympics, it could mark the end of her Paralympics career. But she is committed to using her decision as a means to bring awareness to the lack of accommodations for Paralympians like herself and spark change for future competitors.

“So, in 2021, why as a disabled person am I still fighting for my rights?” Meyers wrote on Twitter. “I’m speaking up for future generations of Paralympic athletes in hope that they never have to experience the pain I’ve been through. Enough is enough.”

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