Sunday, May 18, 2008

Swimmer Natalie du Toit will be the first amputee to compete in the Summer Olympic Games

From CNN (thanks to the blogger Sarah Heacox over at Impossible Universe for the link)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) -- Swimmer Natalie du Toit will make Olympic history in Beijing as the first amputee to compete at the Summer Olympic Games.

Du Toit, who lost her left leg in a motorcycle accident seven years ago, finished fourth in the 6.2-mile race at the open water world championships this month in Seville, Spain.

The top 10 finishers qualified for Beijing in swimming's equivalent of the marathon.

I don't think it has quite sunk in," the 24-year-old swimmer said Tuesday at a news conference. "For me it was quite overwhelming."

She returned to South Africa after qualifying for the Beijing Olympics in the 10- kilometer open water event.

Du Toit plans to return home to Cape Town to begin training for her Olympic race on August 20.

She competed at the Paralympic World Cup on Saturday in Manchester, England, winning the 100-meter freestyle.

Du Toit will also defend her five gold medals at the Beijing Paralympics, which take place two weeks after the August 8-24 Olympics.