March 4, 2013
Guest speaker at Kennesaw Elementary School, Kennesaw, GA
Cassie had the honor of speaking to the pre-K through 3rd grade students at Kennesaw Elementary, headling their school's Exceptional Children's Week celebration (promoting and educating about children with "exceptional" abilities--including children with physical challenges). She discussed the example of the "The Little Engine that Could" (famous children's book by Watty Piper) and compared it to her own life as a Paralympic athlete. Shen encouraged the childen to embrace the ABC's to success, no matter your challenges in life: Achieve, Believe, and Care.
December 30, 2012
Guest speaker at Arrow Heights Baptist Church, Broken Arrow, OK
Cassie was delighted to share her testimony to Arrow Heights Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, OK. Cassie shared on the topic "Growing with God through Tragedy and Triumph". The audience was very receptive and appeciative. You can listen to the audio of the presentation on Arrow Heights' website: http://arrowheights.org/index.php/messages/message/growing-with-god-through-tragedy-and-triumph/listen
November 23, 2012
Gobble Jog 10K Thanksgiving Run, Marietta GA
A lot of people got up early on Thanksgiving to bake their turkey, but 10,000+ of us in the Atlanta area did the Gobble Jog Race to support MUST Ministries (community service/outreach organization). Cassie was the only wheelchair racer on this hilly course, but nonethless she was the second overall female finisher in the 10km race with a time of 38 minutes. It was privelege for her to race with talented, supportive, and welcoming able-bodied competitors. This was Cassie's first race since the Paralympics. What a way to celebrate the year's blessings. It was a reat race, great crowd, great weather and a great cause. Give thanks to that!
October 28, 2012
Guest speaker at York Street Christian Church, Muskogee, OK
Cassie was delighted to speak to her home church, York Street Christian. The title of Cassie's presentation was "Growing with God through Tragedy and Triumph". In this presentation, Cassie presented her sprititual journey and growth through tragedies and triumphs: a young child in ICU with asthma, a World Champion equestrian, the day she woke up paralyzed and never able to walk again, surviving and graduating college with a new disability, a near-death experience in 2006, obtaining a PhD, and becoming a quadriplegic World Champion and recent Paralympian.
Cassie presented the following process of choices for growing with God: 1) I choose to acknowledge a limitless God; 2) I choose to be with God; 3) I choose to follow God’s plans for me; 4) I choose to actively discern God’s voice and rebuke Satan’s voice; 5) I choose to be thankful for everything; and 6) I choose to have a transparent and interactive relationship with God.
October 29, 2012
Keynote speaker at Connors State College Regent Dinner
All eyes were on guest speaker and Connors Alum, Dr. Cassie Mitchell as she addressed the crowd of 80 at the recent OSU A&M Board of Regents Dinner on the campus in Warner. Mitchell who could have easily spoken about her struggles to overcome Devics Neuromyelitis Optica, which left her as a quadriplegic with visual impairments, instead talked about how Warner, Connors and OSU all had a crucial role in her success as an athlete and a professional. Dr. Mitchell is a research engineer at Georgia Tech, an elite Paralympic athlete and a mentor to her students as well as other spinal cord injury patients at Shepherd Center Brain and Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Hospital in Atlanta Georgia. For more on this story see the CSC weblink here.
September 1-9, 2012
2012 Paralympic Games, London, England
Cassie's Paralympic Games can be summarized in one word "bittersweet". First, the sweet part: having three personal best performances clothed in the USA uniform in front of over 80,0000 people in Olympic Stadium and over 2 billion people watching on the internet. The bitter part: having three 4th place finishes in the T52 100m, T52 100m, and the F51-52-53 discus. Cassie missed a medal in the T52 100m by only 0.18 seconds and a medal in the discus by about 3 centimenters....so close but so far. Nonetheless, the atmosphere was amazing and competing alone, particularly at her peak with personal bests in each event, was a dream come true. The experience was overwhelming not only on the track and field, but off as well. Paralympic athletes, including Cassie, were treated like superstars by the Brits who were anxiously awaiting for autographs and pictures each time the athletes left the village. At the train station, at the venue, even in the restrooms....fans were avid to spend a few seconds meeting a Paralympic athlete!
August 17-26, 2012
Training Camp at Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath, England
The U.S military/air force welcomed Team USA Track & Field with open arms. Team USA acclimated to the unseasonably warm weather. We also got to see Cambridge where the local Brits treat us like superstars---asking for pictures, autographs, etc. Additionally, we had a media day, my first of the kind, with lots and lots of TV cameras and journalists. Each USA athlete was given a "sponsor" military family. Sponsors had dinner with athletes, helped them get to grocery stores, and just provided a general since of "home away from home". It was a honor to stay on base with the people who serve our country.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Fox5 Atlanta News reports on Cassie in Atlanta, GA
Fox5 did a nice piece on the Shepherd Center Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Hospital's athletes, including Cassie Mitchell. Cassie's story shows her training at her local track, Emory University, and depicts her in her research laboratory at Georgia Tech. The story will air again on TV Friday, August 17 at 5pm in Atlanta. The video can also be viewed on the internet by going to www.myfoxatlanta.com. Currently, the specific link is posted here.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
KOTV Channel 6 News reports on Cassie in her hometown of Warner, OK
Go to the KOTV Channel 6, Tulsa, OK, link to see the piece which shows Cassie training on her home track in Warner, OK--the same track she ran on as a varsity track athlete in high school before she was paralyzed.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
USA Track and Field National Championships and Paralympic Trials
The USA Paralympic Track & Field Trials were held in Indianapolis, Indiana June 29-July 1. Cassie participated in 3 qualifying events for the London Paralympics (100m, 200m, and discus) and one non-qualifying event, the 400m (i.e. there is no womens T52 400m event in London). She had personal bests in 200m, 400m, and discus. Her first event was on Friday, the women's F52 discus. Cassie far exceeded her personal best throw with a toss of 11.91m. That throw ranks her as the #1 F52 female in the world and makes her the new Americas record holder (longest toss by a F52 female in north and south america). Cassie dropped nearly a second off her personal record in the womens T52 200m. Ultimately, she garnered two silver medals in the T52 100m and 200m and another medal in the discus. Most imporantly, Cassie was one of nineteen females to be named to the USA Paralympic Track & Field Team (pictured, far right) which will be competing in the 2012 Paralympics in London, England beginning on August 30. The official Team USA annoncement can be found by clicking here. (Pictures are forthcoming....check back for updates.)
Thursday, June 21, 2012
USA Cycling National Championships and Paralympic Trials
Cassie won her fourth national championship at the USA Cycling National Road Championships in Augusta, GA. Cassie had a fast ride on the 19km hilly time trial course, clocking a personal best and beating the world record by 7%. During the medal ceremony, she was clothed with the stars-and-stripes jersey, which was put on top of her world champion "rainbow" jersey (picture at right). Wearing a national championship and a world championship jersey at the same time brought out much optimism. Her performance ranks her as the #1 H1 female in the world and the #2 factored H1-2 female in the world. However, despite bettering the H1 world record at Trials by 7%, having a stellar national and international performance record that includes two world championships, and her current world rankings, Cassie was not nominated to the USA Paralympic Cycling Team during the preliminary annoucement on June 23. She now turns her attention to the Track & Field Paralympic trials next week to keep her Paralympic dream alive.
Saturday June 3, 2012
Fast Cow Invitational Track Meet
The third annual Fast Cow Invitational Track Meet took place at the Michael Carroll Stadium on the campus of IUPUI, Indianapolis, Indiana. This same stadium will host the upcoming USA Paralympic National Trials and Championships June 29 - July 1. The Fast Cow meet featured many members of the current USA National Team as well as many other elite athletes, all of which are vying for spots on the 53-member USA delegation that will compete in the 2012 London Paralympics. Cassie (currently ranked 4th in the world) placed second in the T52 class in the 100m, 200m, and 800m. Kerry Morgan (currently ranked 2nd in the world) took the top honors in the womens T52 class. Cassie had personal records in the 100m and 200m; she met the USA "A" standard in both events and was named to the USA National "A" team. The 800m T52 race was most exciting for Cassie as she lead the entire race until she was outsprinted in the final 2 meters by Kerry (2011 800m T52 World Champion). Only 0.3 seconds separated the two.
Friday/Saturday May 25-26, 2012
Union Cyclist International 2012 World Cup I
The first UCI World Cup of the 2012 season was held in the beautiful and historic Rome, Italy. Several hundred paracyclists gathered from all over the world to participate in this prelude to the London Paralympic Games. Cassie was a member of the 14-athlete USA Paracycling Team delegation. The time trial (sprint event) was a 15km mostly flat and lapped course on the beaches of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. The road race was a hilly and technical 40km lapped course around the Roman baths, approximatley 1km from the famous Colisseum. Cassie had a personal best in the time trial, and took the top honors for the H1 class. However, it should be noted that in London, the womens' H1 and H2 classes will be combined and factored for the time trial. That is, the quadriplegics (H1) and the paraplegics (H2) must compete together, with the H1 athletes being given a factor (a calculated handicap). Under this combined H1-2 placing system and based on the results of this Rome World Cup, Cassie is currently ranked second in the world in the time trial.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Desert Challenge Track Meet
The Desert Challenge track meet, Mesa, Arizona, brought out top notch athlets from several different countries. The heat was crazy in the desert, 109 F, which made for a blazing hot and fast track! Cassie won the womens T52 division in the 100m, 200m, 400m, and 800m with personal best times in each of those races. She also added a field event, the discus, and won her first competition! She was also blessed with American records in the T52 400m and 800m, and a record is waiting to be confirmed for the F52 discus. With this early success in discus, which currently ranks her second in the world, she looks to add the discus to her Paralympic track & field event list.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Dixie Games Track Meet
The Dixie Games Track Meet was a regional track meet held in Tampa, Florida. The weather was unseasonably hot, even for Florida, with temperatures reaching the upper 90's with typical Florida high humidity. As such the events were held in the later evening in order to make for safer conditions for the athletes. In particular, quadriplegics (Cassie included) are susceptible to heat stroke because their paralyzed bodies do not sweat or cool appropriately. Perhaps even more unfortunate than the heat was the extremely strong head wind. There seems to be a law that good weather and track meets don't happen on the same day! Nonetheless, Cassie placed first in the Womens T52 (quadriplegic) class in the 100m, 200m, 400m, and 800m. Additionally, she was the overall top female in the 800m (among all female disability classes) and the second overall female in the 100m, 200m, and 400m. Cassie had a PR (personal record, defined as a personal best time) in the 200m.
Saturday, May 6, 2012
Scott Rigsby Foundation Alliance Ride Handcycle Road Race
The Scott Rigsby Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspire, inform and enable individuals with loss of limb or mobility, to live an active lifestyle. They held their second annual cycle ride in Alpharetta, Georgia. Over a thousand able-bodied cyclists participated in the 25-mile and 50-mile rides. Additionally, there was a 25-mile handcycle ride. Cassie was proud to put on the Team USA stars-and-stripes jersey and ride in support of our activity duty military and veterans. The crowd was very receptive and appreciative of the handcyclists as the 25-mile course had several very steep climbs, including multiple hills with >10% grades. The ride was a real test of strength and patience for Cassie as a malfunctionining shifter meant doing these big hills in a much more difficult gear than usual as well as having to stop several times to manually move the chain to the apropriate gear (i.e. stick her finger into the moving chain...yikes!). Cassie considered the experience great training, "Sometimes training is more than just obtaining physical endurance....sometimes its learning the mental toughness and preparation to not drown in a flood of unfortunate circumstances."
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Clocktower Classic Handcycle Time Trial
The Clocktower Classic, held annually in Rome, Georgia, marked the beginning of the third year of Cassie's cycling career. On a brand new bike (bright green, of course) and on her first outing on it, Cassie laid down a time of just over 23 minutes on the 6.1 mile course. Cassie looks to improve on her performance before competing on another course in Rome...Rome, Italy, that is. The first Union Cyclist International Paracycling World Cup is upcoming in late May in Rome, Italy. Cassie will be representing Team USA in the Womens H1 (quadriplegic) division.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Drake Relays Track Meet
It was stormy at the Drake Relays, a famous annual track meet held in Des Moines, Iowa, at Drake University. Wheeelchair athletes from the USA Paralympic National Team were invited to participate.With strong head winds and rain, times were a little slower on the bright blue track. Cassie finished first in the womens T52 (quadriplegic) class in the 100m and 6th place overall. In the 800m, Cassie finished first in the womens T52 (quadriplegic) class and an exciting 4th overall, with a personal best time.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Cassie awarded Oklahoma State University Lohmann Medal
The Lohmann medal is the highest honor of the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology (CEAT) at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Melvin R. Lohmann Medal was established in 1991 to honor alumni of CEAT for contributions to the profession or to the education of engineers, architectures, or technologists, that merit the highest recognition. Dr. Cassie S. Mitchell was awarded the 2012 Lohmann Medal by OSU "In recognition of her contributions to adverse neurpathologies and her soaring spirit and boundless determination. Through her success, we celebrate the best in humanity, and in recounting her accomplishments, we learn how to draw from the well of endless possibilities." For both Cassie and the large OSU crowd of faculty, alumni, donors, family and friends, it was a momentous and emotional occasion. Cassie spoke her story to the crowd, inspiring them with three points: 1) to take a leap of faith like a frog (F.R.O.G, Fully Rely on God); 2) never, never, never give up; 3) what you do matters. Cassie is pictured with Dr. Karl Reid and Dr. Khaled Gasem (picture courtesy of Kristin Kay Photos).