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Cardin, Van Hollen Call on U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to Increase Trusted Support for Paralympic Athletes

July 29th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.-2) are calling on the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to better support Paralympic athletes at Olympic and Paralympic Games after denying reasonable and essential accommodations for a deaf and blind swimmer. With an understanding of the unprecedented restrictions placed on who may be in Japan besides the athletes, the USOPC failed to recognize that the severe COVID-19 restrictions increased the need for trusted support staff to accompany many Paralympians, such as Marylander Becca Meyers, a deaf and visually impaired swimmer who requires substantial assistance outside of the pool. Rather than put her own personal and mental health at risk, Ms. Meyers made an incredibly brave and difficult decision to withdraw from the American Paralympic Swim Team after the USOPC reversed previous commitments for her to have a trusted assistant – her mother –  with her in competitions.