The Olympics are over. But the cheering goes on.
Seeing Eye dogs have changed many lives. (See Miracles in Motion on a previous Mutts.) Jen Ambruster and Becca Meyers are two of them. Jen Ambruster and Becca Myers are two of them. Between September 7 and September 18, the Paralympics will take place in Rio. And these two Seeing Eye graduates are going for the gold.
Jen Ambruster is the captain of the U.S. Women’s Goalball team. Goalball was invented following World War II as a team sport for visually impaired veterans. Each team has three players – a center and two wingers – on a court which is roughly the size of a volleyball court. The goal is a net about shoulder-height that stretches the entire width of the court‘s back line. The ball is similar in size to a basketball, but weighs about three pounds and has bells inside it to allow the players to determine the ball’s location. Players wear blindfolds so there’s no advantage for those who partially sighted. The goal is defended by catching or diving in front of the ball. The U.S. women are hoping for gold after winning the REDC International Goalball Tournament in Spain earlier this summer.
Jen (shown above) was matched with her fourth Seeing Eye dog, a German shepherd named Simon, in December 2015. She was the U.S. flag-bearer at the Beijing Paralympics opening ceremony in 2008, and has won three medals in her six Paralympic games.
Becca Meyers is a 22-year-old swimmer from Maryland and a star at Franklin & Marshall College’s swim team. She will race three freestyle events: 50 meters, 100 meters, and 400 meters. She will also compete in the 100 meter butterfly and the 200 meter individual medley. Becca has a long record of wins. At the U.S. Paralympic trials, she won the 100 meter and 400 meter freestyle, the 100 meter butterfly, and the 200 individual medley, and finished third in the 50 meter freestyle at the U.S. Paralympic trials. At the NCAA Division III championships, she placed 6th in the nation in the 1,650 meter freestyle and was named an All-American. She also won the ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability in 2015. And, at the 2012 games in London, she won the silver medal in the 200 meter individual relay and the bronze medal in the 100 meter freestyle.
Becca was matched with her first Seeing Eye dog, a yellow Labrador/golden retriever cross named Birdie, in August 2015.
So cheer on these amazing women as they compete in Rio.
The Seeing Eye is supported solely by donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations. For more information on this organization and how to help put miracles in motion visit http://www.SeeingEye.org.