cassie s. mitchell, ph.d.


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My Wheelchair Track Story


race_chula_vistaI only began wheelchair track in the fall of 2011. My initiation was based on my decision to listen to a voice and vision within—to borrow a wheelchair racer, train for a couple of days, and cash in my frequent flyer miles to obtain an airline ticket to go to the last track meet of the season held at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California (pictured)!  In less than one week after first starting the sport and using a borrowed racer that was way too big for me, I won two races at my first meet.   Even more astonishing, I set the American record in the 400m! In less than one year later I was racing in front 88,000 fans in the 2012 London Paralympics games in the T52 100m and 200m sprints and the F52 discus!

As a former successful able-bodied track athlete, being back on the track in a wheelchair opened a mixed bag of emotions.  Sometimes I still feel haunted on the track.  I miss running even more than I miss walking. Nonetheless, I’m moving onward as the adrenaline and thrill of the race is more empowering than the ghosts of the past.  Fear has never ruled me, and I’m not about to give into it now.

I compete in the womens’ quadriplegic division (T51-52). Currently our division has the 100m, 200m, and 800m races, and I compete in all of them.  Additionally, I compete in the womens' quadriplegic field events (F51-53) in the discus and the shot put.