SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning - Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Advisory - Fire Weather Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

'I feel worthless as a person': Hear why US Paralympian quit team

Becca Meyers, a deaf and blind American swimmer, has withdrawn from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games after she said the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) denied her request to bring her mother to serve as her Personal Care Assistant. She speaks with CNN's New Day.

Posted: Jul 21, 2021 1:03 PM


Becca Meyers won three gold medals and a silver at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, but the swimmer, who's deaf and blind, said being there without someone to help navigate took its toll.

The two-time Paralympian announced on Tuesday that she would not be attending the Tokyo Games next month because she said the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) denied her request to bring her mother to serve as personal care assistant.

Tokyo organizers have put strict restrictions in place for the games to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

"In Rio 2016, I did not have my mom or a designated PCA (personal care assistant) to work with me and I fell apart, so I know what would happen if I go to Tokyo without my mom," Meyers said Wednesday in an interview with CNN's "New Day."

Meyers, 26, has Usher syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes deafness or hearing loss and the eye disease retinitis pigmentosa that affects vision and worsens over time. She has been deaf since she was born and has used a cochlear implant since she was young, according to her Team USA bio.

She has been swimming since she was 6 and won a sliver and bronze medal in the 2012 London Paralympics.

Her mom, Maria Meyers, told CNN that Becca has a very narrow field of vision, so she needs one-on-one help to navigate airports, dining halls and other areas of the bustling venues so she can be in a better position to compete.

"I'm there to just whisper in her ear, 'It's on your left, it's on your right' to guide her and take care of her," Maria Meyers said. "I don't have anything to do with the pool, that's all her and the coaches, but they really have to have staff that knows how to orient and take care of these kids."

She has been her daughter's PCA in international competitions since 2017.

The USOPC said in a statement that because of the pandemic, there was "a drastic reduction placed in the number of accredited support staff able to travel to Japan."

"In the case of U.S. Paralympics Swimming, there is a designated Personal Care Assistant (PCA) assigned to the team. This PCA has more than 27 years of coaching experience, including eleven years with para swimmers. Because of the complex nature of these games, the role of the PCA has been filled by a qualified staff member who is able to serve in dual roles and who can assist the team as a whole when needed. This PCA joins a staff of 10 additional accomplished swim professionals, all who have experience with blind swimmers; totaling 11 staff for 34 athletes."

The USOPC said it would have sports medicine, athlete services, a mental health program and other resources available for all members of Team USA.

"The decisions we've made on behalf of the team have not been easy, and we are heartbroken for athletes who are unable to have their previous support resources available. We are confident in the level of support we will offer Team USA and look forward to providing them a positive athlete experience even in the most unprecedented times," the statement said.

Meyers said that the decision to withdraw was heartbreaking and it felt like her five years of training "was all for nothing."

"I can't even put it into words. I haven't been sleeping well, I haven't been eating, it's just torn me apart," she told CNN. "Swimming is a 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 and now I feel very worthless as a person."

Meyers said she wants the USOPC to make changes because Paralympic athletes, especially those who are blind or visually impaired, need more resources.

"I am standing up so that future generations never have to feel the pain that I felt and that no one on Team USA should ever feel afraid," she said.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 218689

Reported Deaths: 2855
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41723618
Washington27764258
Marion24459332
Clackamas19888241
Lane14804174
Jackson12522155
Deschutes1052887
Umatilla950594
Linn624882
Yamhill506281
Klamath494179
Douglas446188
Polk429357
Josephine413675
Malheur366467
Benton345322
Jefferson249342
Coos230439
Columbia208132
Union167124
Wasco154631
Lincoln153522
Crook139224
Hood River125934
Morrow122317
Clatsop116310
Baker109317
Curry77912
Tillamook7495
Grant5627
Lake4878
Harney45811
Wallowa2286
Gilliam871
Sherman862
Wheeler421
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3944933

Reported Deaths: 64386
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles129358324677
Riverside3079224659
San Bernardino3062735236
San Diego2950543798
Orange2817905143
Santa Clara1230832099
Sacramento1152001777
Kern1130711425
Fresno1044581746
Alameda958261282
Ventura835231043
San Joaquin769151460
Contra Costa75842832
Stanislaus657091091
Tulare50363854
Monterey44484528
San Mateo44477588
San Francisco40144561
Solano35703262
Santa Barbara35647467
Merced32961484
Sonoma32665330
Imperial29096745
Placer25146307
Kings23611250
San Luis Obispo21970265
Madera17024249
Santa Cruz16616207
Marin14825239
Yolo14801215
Butte13184205
Shasta12963242
El Dorado11063120
Napa1042082
Sutter10159126
Yuba698551
San Benito627463
Lassen588127
Tehama586466
Nevada535075
Humboldt504553
Mendocino468351
Tuolumne449573
Lake423865
Amador387048
Siskiyou256140
Glenn246427
Colusa235718
Calaveras230758
Del Norte16438
Inyo145338
Mono13255
Plumas7656
Modoc5737
Mariposa4987
Trinity4626
Sierra1290
Alpine890
Unassigned510
Medford
Partly Cloudy
95° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 92°
Brookings
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
90° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 89°
Grants Pass
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 100° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 89°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
More rain and thunderstorms possible Saturday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events