Behind the Scenes at the Paralympics

With any high level athletic event there will be scores of people behind the scenes helping the athlete perform at their very best. But what if, beyond nutrition advice and endurance coaching, you needed some new parts for your leg? Or your wheelchair lost a bolt right before your big competition? This happens at the Paralympics every single day and the guys at the Ottobock shop are their unsung heroes.

Paid by Otttobock, the teams of technicians work long hours to help athletes with everything from a lift in their shoe to a total repair of a fifty thousand dollar prosthetic knee. The nature of  high level sporting competition leads to parts that break. This team offers repairs free of charge to every athlete in the village.

Sometimes that means actually replacing equipment. They can’t afford to give every athlete a new wheelchair but many times athletes from Third World countries show up with homemade equipment that’s falling apart. In a true act of the Olympic spirit, in the 2008 Paralympics the Ottobock team repaired a bike belonging to an athlete from Burkina Faso with parts they borrowed from the athletes competing for France and the United States. After the Games were over Ottobock sent him a brand new hand cycle. This same athlete showed up at the London Games this week with that very bike. It was in need of a few repairs, as four years of training had taken its toll, but the Ottobock team was happy to do the overhaul.

Competing with prosthetics and adaptive equipment brings new challenges to the table. Fortunately Ottobock and their generous spirit have already shown up with an invaluable service. A gold medal to the folks behind the scenes, replacing screws, welding frames, and doing whatever it takes to keep athletes from around the world competing at the top of their games.

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