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Maryland gold-medal paralympian had no choice but to drop out of Tokyo Olympics

Meyers denied mom as personal care assistant
Tokyo Olympics
Posted at 8:58 AM, Jul 22, 2021

LUTHERVILLE-TIMMONIUM, Md. — Becca Meyers, the Maryland native and three-time gold medal Paralympian swimmer from Lutherville-Timmonium said she was left with no choice but to give up her dreams of competing in the Tokyo Olympics.

It was a decision that didn’t come easy for Meyers.

Covid restrictions prevented her mother from being allowed to serve as her personal care assistant, and without being allowed to bring her mother, the hearing and visually-impaired swimmer would have to get around Tokyo on her own.

Appearing on CNN’s ‘New Day’ with Brianna Keiler, Becca Meyers and her mom Maria Meyers shared their heartbreaking story.

Her mom explained that Becca has Usher Syndrome which causes her to have a very narrow field of vision.

Anywhere she would have to go as part of her journey to Tokyo such as the airport, the airplane, the dining hall, wherever it might be she can't see, she can't hear, and she can't navigate on her own.

Her mom said she would just be there to whisper in her daughter's ear to guide her and take care of her.

As far as what happens in the pool, she said that's all Becca.

She may be hearing and visually-impaired, but it hasn't stopped Becca Meyers from winning three gold medals at previous Paralympic games.

Unfortunately, she has to give up her dream of earning any medals in Tokyo.

Becca Meyers said “I’m heartbroken. I can't even put it into words. I haven't been sleeping well. I haven't been eating. It just tore me apart. Swimming is part of who I am. It's given me identity as a person. I’ve always been known as Becca the swimmer, not Becca the deaf, blind person. Now, I feel very worthless as a person. For someone who's trained for 5 years for this moment, especially an extra year with the pandemic, it just makes it all seem like it was just for nothing."

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic committee has 11 personal care assistants for 34 swimmers.

It's essentially one PCA for every three swimmers.

Becca Meyers has had her mom by her side at all of her international events since 2017, which explains why she made the difficult decision to not go to Tokyo.

“It was a lot of thinking. A lot of soul searching, and i've experienced this before. In Rio 2016, I did not have my mom or a designated PCA to work with me and I fell apart, so I know what would have happened if I had gone to Tokyo without my mom," Meyers said.