Track and field Paralympic medalist Cheri Becerra-Madsen is on the road to qualify for the Rio Paralympic and Olympic Games this August. But she needs financial support to get there.
An Omaha tribal member, Madsen is a former world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 wheelchair racing events and the first Native American to win an Olympic bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic 800-meter Exhibition Race.
The eight-time Paralympic medalist retired from racing for 13 years to raise a family but returned in 2013 with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the 2016 US Paralympic Team, where she won two bronze medals at the world championships in Lyon, France that year. The Paralympian has been steadily winning events since her return; the latest include the 100m and 400m at the Sun Angel Classic in April and the Desert Challenge mid-May where she competed in four events.
Hopes are high for Madsen to qualify for the U.S. team at the US Paralympic National Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina being held from 30 June through 2 July. The top athletes in the track and field, swimming and cycling trials will compete in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The Paralympics are one of the largest events for physically disabled athletes and this year’s U.S. trials event is historic. U.S. Olympic Committee officials told the Charlotte Observer that there hasn’t been an event staged before - bringing together multiple team trials to create a single sporting event. NBC will reportedly broadcast at least two of the track and field events live, while others will be filmed by the network for a documentary.
Madsen has been trying to raise $3,000 to cover her costs of competing. To date she has crowdfunded $1,145. The fund does not include repairs to her wheelchair, which needs new tires.
Donations can be made via Madsen’s GoFundMe page here.
Follow ICTMN Correspondent Lisa J. Ellwood on Twitter at @IconicImagery