If you want to see the Paralympic Games in a whole new light, you might be interested in the story of one of Australia’s biggest athletes, Ollie McNeil.
In 2009, the 21-year-old from Perth-based Olympic team member Ollies sister, Kay, went through the dreaded process of transitioning from male to female.
“I wanted to be a boy and that was the only thing that could happen,” she told ABC radio in a story broadcast on ABC Radio National’s The Story in 2010.
“It was terrifying.”
It was only after Kay was diagnosed with breast cancer that she began to transition from male-to-female.
The cancer came back in a severe form and McNeil began a six-month operation to remove the remaining cancerous tissue from her body.
“We spent six months trying to remove as much of the cancerous tumour as possible,” she said.
“So, to get the best outcome for Kay, we needed to remove it from her bones.”
McNeil’s experience has inspired others to look at the Paralymics as an opportunity to give back to the sport.
Former Australian Open tennis player Heather Kavanagh, who was diagnosed as a transgender woman in 2015, has said she has received support from the Paralynics’ governing body in her journey.
“They’ve been incredibly supportive,” Kavanah said.
The 2016 ParalympiGames will be held in Melbourne, Australia.
The Games will feature athletes competing in more than 100 disciplines.
For example, in the women’s 400m final, American and Australian women will face off in a final, with the winner to take home a $1 million cash prize.
In the men’s 1,500m, two-time world champion Ryan Murphy will compete in the 400m hurdles and the men will compete against each other in the 2,500 metres.
The men’s men’s 100m freestyle relay will be a sprint relay and women’s 10,000m freewheeling relay.
The women’s 4x400m relay will feature eight competitors from across the country competing for a total of 16 gold medals.
The games are expected to be attended by millions of fans.
McNeil hopes her story can inspire others.
“There are so many stories out there of people who have experienced the pain of being transgender and their struggles with gender identity, and what it can mean,” she added.
“The fact that the Paralykinese Games are one of the biggest sporting events in the world and a big part of our lives, it’s an incredible opportunity for me to do something that I never thought I’d be able to do.”
McNeill said she will be the first to admit she has made mistakes.
“But I’ve always known that I was a girl and I didn’t have to be afraid to be who I was and to be proud of who I am,” she concluded.
Topics:transgender,disorders-and-disorders,obesity,diseases-and/or-disabilities,women,sport,perth-6000,vic,au-prince-4577,melbourne-3000,vicContact Sarah McNeil