Cycling to New Heights: Greta Neimanas
|Greta Neimanas is climbing on a indoor climbing wall.|
Greta was first exposed to adaptive sports in the summer of 2000. At the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's Caring for Kids Summer Camp, a special prosthesis was designed so that Greta could learn how to kayak. It was then that Greta realized that she could do whatever she wanted by simply adapting activities to meet her needs. This realization fueled her lifelong love of sports.
After that summer, Greta experimented with numerous sports, including snowboarding, wakeboarding, rock climbing, golf, scuba diving, and cycling. She is a PADI-certified scuba diver and is working towards her Handicapped Scuba Association (HSA) certification to be a dive buddy. Greta's first wakeboarding competition will be in the first O&P Extremity games in Orlando, FL in July 2006. In the spring of 2005, she joined a cycling team through Athletico and competes in road and track races across Illinois.
|Greta on her bike with her prosthethic forearm.|
Participating in adaptive sports has affected how Greta lives her life. When asked about her motivation and ambition, Greta comments that, "Not only do I train to compete, I train to win." She often competes against non-disabled athletes and underscores that "there's always somebody training to be better than you, which means that you have to train that much harder to stay where you want to be."
Greta considers her greatest accomplishment so far to be her cycling career. Within eight months time, she progressed from never racing or competing to being invited to a Paralympic training camp. Greta's 2006 goal is to make the US Paralympic Cycling team. After that, she plans on competing worldwide and then at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic games. Greta will attend Indiana University and major in therapeutic recreation.
In Greta's own words, "I wouldn't change anything for the world. It has allowed me to be a part of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's amazing sports programs. Through RIC, I have traveled worldwide, met many inspiring individuals, and, in general, had doors opened that a two-handed person may not have."