Paralympian headed to Rio knows no limits

SARASOTA — The smile on Jacqui Kapinowski's face, as wide as her scull was long, wasn't going anywhere.

But she was. To Rio.

“It's mind-blowing,” she said. A 53-year-old, retired, who got back into the water just 13 months ago, had defeated a 28-year-old competitor.

So what that Jacqui Kapinowski couldn't stand to receive her flowers, her gold medal? A disease called stiff person syndrome (SPS) long ago stole her ability to walk. No feeling below her eighth thoracic vertebra.

But plenty above it. “The disease doesn't define who I am.” Last March, a company gave Jacqui a boat. Another provided the oars, “and here I am today.”

And that was Sunday morning, Nathan Benderson Park, for the finals of the 2016 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials for rowing. Kapinowski, her race the second of eight, qualified for the Paralympic Games, taking first in the women's arm and shoulders single scull.

Read the full article here.