Story at a glance

  • U.S. paralympian Becca Meyers withdrew from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee denied her request to have her own personal care assistant amid coronavirus restrictions.
  • Meyers, who is deaf and blind, appealed for her mother to serve as her PCA, stating the single PCA being provided to assist all 34 Paralympic swimmers is inadequate.
  • The USOPC responded, stating “the safety, well-being and positive experience of all Team USA athletes is our number one priority.”

A U.S. paralympian withdrew from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) denied her request to have her own personal care assistant (PCA) amid coronavirus restrictions.

Twenty-six-year-old Rebecca Meyers, who is deaf and blind, had appealed for her mother to serve as her PCA, stating on social media that the single PCA being provided to assist all 34 Paralympic swimmers is inadequate. 

"The USOPC has denied a reasonable & essential accommodation for me, as a deaf-blind athlete, to be able to compete in Tokyo, telling me repeatedly that I do not need a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) ‘who I trust’ because there will be a single PCA on staff that is available to assist me and 33 other Paralympic swimmers, 9 of whom are also visually impaired,” Meyers wrote on Twitter Tuesday. 


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"The USOPC has approved me having a trusted PCA (my mom) at all international meets since 2017, but this time it's different. With COVID, there are new safety measures and limits of non-essential staff in place, rightfully so, but a trusted PCA is essential for me to compete."   

Meyers, a Baltimore native, was born deaf due to the rare genetic disorder Usher syndrome and then gradually lost her vision. 

The USOPC responded in a statement on Wednesday to the Washington Post: "The safety, well-being and positive experience of all Team USA athletes is our number one priority," the statement said.

"We take pride in being the best-prepared [national Olympic committee] and [national Paralympic committee] in the world, and that includes supporting all athletes as they navigate the excitement, and complexity, of the Olympic or Paralympic Games."

At the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Meyers won three gold medals and a silver medal. In the 2012 Games in London, she won one silver and one bronze medal. 


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Published on Jul 23, 2021