Setting his Sights on Gold – One Graduate's Dream
Twenty-year-old Guiding Eyes graduate DJ Robinson has his aspirations set on participating in the 2016 Summer Paralympic games. He will compete in Para-Cycling – the third most popular Paralympic event, developed by visually impaired cyclists using tandem bicycles.
DJ’s love for cycling goes back to 2010, when he entered Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Spring Games. He competed in track and field, and cycling, leaving the event with two gold medals and three silver ones. By the end of these games, DJ was passionate about competitive cycling.
In May of this year, DJ was accepted into an intensive development camp. Camp athletes must possess the fitness level and determination to withstand the rigorous training, which includes daily cycling, weight lifting and endurance exercises. During his free time at Guiding Eyes, DJ would often be found in our Student Fitness Room, preparing for the upcoming Nationals tournament. A win at Nationals will qualify DJ for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – his ultimate dream.
Competing at Nationals (and hopefully in Brazil in a few years) will be much easier with Genoa, DJ’s Guiding Eyes dog. DJ hopes to travel the world with his trusted black Labrador by his side. He shares, “A guide dog gives you a sense of independence you never thought was possible. You no longer have to depend on others to get around; you’re able to accomplish things on your own.” With DJ’s continued hard work and the help of his guide dog, there is no doubt in our minds that Genoa will be waiting for DJ at the finish line in Brazil.
The Paralympic Games were founded in the 1940s to empower athletes of different abilities to inspire and excite the world. Participants compete in a variety of sporting events designed with modifications to meet their needs. For example, in Goalball, blind athletes score points by rolling a beeping ball towards the opposing team’s goal. Wheelchair tennis allows the ball to bounce twice while remaining in play, and in rowing events, equipment is adapted to meet the competitors’ requirements.