IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kim King (719) 527-6793
3918 Christy Heights
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Next Stop – Sydney Australia for Paralympic Gold, October 18 - 29
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Matt King, member of the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), who regularly competes and excels in U.S. elite/pro cycling events against sighted riders, brought his message to a new pique when he and partner Kirk Whiteman finished second against America’s elite track cyclists last month at the EDS Elite National Championships. USABA has been entering blind athletes into races with sighted opponents for several years, but this is the first time one has placed top two in an elite National Championship.
“Silver was not our goal, but we are still happy with it,” says Matt King of
his best finish against sighted opponents. “This is a big step forward for
both myself and all blind athletes. Blindness does not
justify lower expectations. I have been working to use my love for cycling to change that tragic
misconception. Sighted cyclists that race against me and lose understand
that. I hope others will too,”
says King who is currently training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in
Colorado Springs, Colo. for the 2000 Paralympic games.
The vision of gold in the year 2000 remains strong for Matt King and his tandem partners, Kirk Whiteman (Brooklyn, New York) and Mark Guerin (Colorado Springs, Colorado). King will compete with Kirk Whiteman in the match sprint and Mark Guerin in the 1-kilometer time trial at the XIth Paralympic Games, Oct. 18-29 in Sydney, Australia.
An engineer for IBM in Colorado Springs, King was born with retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited incurable eye disease that gradually destroys the retina and optic nerve. He grew up with limited vision and by his freshman year at Notre Dame had completely lost his sight. Despite the challenge, he graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame in 1989 with bachelor¹s degrees in electrical engineering and music.
King began his competitive cycling career in 1995 and a year later qualified for the Paralympic Games in Atlanta. He and partner Spencer Yates broke the world record in the quarterfinals of the 4,000-meter tandem pursuit. At the 1998 IPC World Cycling Championships for the Disabled, King and Garth Blackburn finished second in the men¹s tandem match sprints. Last month, he and Whiteman placed second against the best in the United States at the EDS National Cycling Championships. In addition to his cycling accomplishments, he believes his race results will "help the world learn that disabilities do not have to disable, obstacles are opportunities, limitations are not necessarily limiting."
The Paralympic Games are the pinnacle of international competition for elite athletes with physical disabilities. Some 4,000 men and women from 125 nations will participate in 18 sports this year in Sydney.For more information on the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), please call Charlie Huebner at (7190 630-0422 ext. 11.
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