A long read in The New York Times charts Brazilian gymnast Laís Souza’s journey from a crippling spinal cord injury, which left the two-time Olympic champion paralyzed and wheelchair bound. The story recounts how a gymnast went to become the first Brazilian aerialist to qualify for the Olympics, and it includes snippets of her childhood, testimonies from her coaches, and chronicles her exhilaration at trying out a new challenge. Souza had never skied or seen anyone do aerials — or even so much as seen snow in her life. But that didn’t deter her. And so when she crashed on a downhill run on the Double Jack slopes, a black diamond run, in the Park City Mountain Resort in Utah, her family, coaches and friends were not too surprised. “When I heard about her decision to move to skiing, I told her she was crazy,” said Moreira, Souza’s former gymnastics coach. “But she’s an adult and owner of her own decisions. She knows her own limits.” After a series of operations, Souza is now figuring out her future. She is negotiating to be an ambassador for the Miami Project, and looking to work as a motivational speaker and campaigner for disabled people, and possibly as a gymnastics commentator.
Read the full story at The New York Times.