By Jeff Todd
WINTER PARK, Colo. (CBS4)– Before many Paralympians head off to South Korea for the Paralympics, they’re competing in the Wells Fargo Cup at Winter Park this weekend.
“This event, to me, is goosebumps all weekend long,” said Kim Easton, the CEO of the National Sports Center for the Disabled. “It changes what we think about in terms of people disabilities and it inspires all of us.”
The Wells Fargo Cup is one of the biggest fundraisers all year for the NSCD.
“Despite the fact that it’s a fundraiser, it’s pretty darn competitive especially among our guys because nobody likes to lose,” said Tom Overton, a skier who has spent the last to yeas training with the NSCD.
Overton is an incomplete quadriplegic. He suffered a spinal cord injury while Mountain Biking near Fort Collins. Now he’s competing at a high level thanks to the help from the NSCD.
“At the time I was paralyzed from the neck down and since then I’ve been to Craig Hospital and did a couple months of rehab,” Overton said. “I fully expected to be in a wheelchair when this first happened and to be out skiing and racing and having fun like that is pretty amazing.”
The NSCD offers 15 different sports year round in Grand County and the Denver metro area for people with disabilities.
This year the NSCD has helped training a dozen Paralympians from around the world and most will be competing this weekend and the Wells Fargo Cup. Overton is hoping hard work over the next four years can get him to the next games.
“To be able to know these guys, with the Paralympics coming up and being able to watch that and say hey I train with that guy is pretty cool,” he said. “It depends on how the body holds up for four more years but it’s something definitely in the realm of possibilities.”
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.