Despite being both blind and deaf, Kathleen Borrone of NJ does not allow her disability to get in the way — of life, or of the triathlons she runs. She needs a guide — a caregiver — on the course, but is still able to push her body to its limits.
More than 65 million people give formal and informal care to elderly or disabled individuals, like Borrone. But when it came to entering the Ironman Lake Placid triathlon in July 2017, organizers are picky about who gets to help the athletes who need special care.
In a federal complaint on Dec. 19, Borrone claims that the World Triathlon and USA Triathlon organizations changed their policies on guides in the physically challenged divisions. Borrone has been competing with the same guide, James Armstrong, for eight years. However, she will no longer be able to compete with him due to gender-specific rule modifications.
Because of the gender-specific changing tents between the three events, Ironman organizers told Borrone that she’d have to find a female guide.
Borrone says that Armstrong has never entered a female changing tent with her and wonders why her guide also has to serve as her caregiver who helps her get dressed.
With just buy ativan online australia seven months before the triathlon, Borrone will struggle to find a capable guide.
Her federal complaint reads:
“Borrone is not aware of any other guide who can perform the necessary function that Armstrong performs. Specifically, Armstrong is the only individual Borrone knows who is both capable of communicating with her in tactile sign language and completing triathlon events.”
Armstrong competed with Borrone at the same event just one year prior, as well as the American Triple T in southern Ohio and the Ironman 70.3 in Syracuse.
While training and competing, Armstrong swims and runs with Borrone, and shares a two-seater bike that allows him to navigate from the front. Borrone is also able to touch Armstrong’s hands as he signs so she can understand what he is communicating to her.
Borrone is being represented by Michael Stein at Stein and Vargas in Washington, D.C., and has filed charges alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, and also disability and sex discrimination.
USA Triathlon claims that it has not yet received or seen the lawsuit and cannot comment at this time. USA Triathlon also says that it does not own or arrange any Ironman events.