In 2016, eight years after her initial diagnosis, Whitmore fulfilled a lifelong athletic dream.
"The Rio Paralympics was one of the most incredible things I've ever, ever been a part of. I mean, as a kid, when I would watch the Olympics and I would watch all the Olympics, the swimming and all that. I would always imagine that one day I wanted to be there, and I was hoping XTERRA would get to the Olympics because, you know, why not? It's the coolest sport out there. I still feel like a pro. I mean, I'm still the elite athlete. I still train as much as I did before. I still get paid. But, you know, I'm still a pro para athlete who is a mom and a cancer survivor with a disability. I'm all of it." said Jamie Whitmore.
For Paul Mitchell representatives who experience races first-hand, the invigorating spirit of XTERRA is inspiring.
Wang’s skills in the water earned him Paralympic gold, but his biggest gift as an athlete is his mental fortitude. In 2017, Wang turned his focus to XTERRA. Wang, already a Paralympic champion in swimming, now hopes to qualify for China’s 2021 Paralympic triathlon team. In the meantime, his dedication and resolve inspire his fellow athletes—both challenged and able-bodied.
Excuses have never been part of Willie Stewart’s repertoire. Stewart, a former wrestler and rugby player, lost his left arm in a construction accident when he was eighteen. For a few dark months after the trauma, he struggled, thinking his athletic days were behind him. But with the encouragement of his mother, and some sports mentors, including Bob Babbitt, Stewart started triathlon and discovered that even without an arm, he was really fast.
Stewart’s tenacity and dedication to training are the foundation of his success. But the improvement in prosthetic technology has also helped him to excel.
"I think that eighteen-year-old kid now would be pretty lucky. Because someone would walk into the hospital room and say, you know, get off your ass and let's get some stuff done. And no one said that to me. No one told me that I could do anything. All I heard was “too bad,” “so sad.” And now I know that folks in the hospital with an amputation, kids are born with disabilities. There is always someone visiting mom and dad, someone visiting the hospital. Somebody is in there all the time to motivate them early and believe in them and challenge them to be more than what they would think of themselves. It's like, you can do anything, but you can't do anything unless you get the guts, the courage to get on that starting line." Willie Stewart said.