Today, I saw a news clip about an eleven year old girl named Lola Walters who is legally blind, and a competitive artistic gymnast. Walters has a condition that causes very hazy vision, a quivering of the eyes, and lack of depth perception, yet despite it all she tumbles across the floor, jumps from bar to bar, does back walkovers on the beam, and runs head first at the vault. She says she can do anything anyone else can do, and that nobody needs to know she’s blind.
I did gymnastics when when I was around 9 years old, I think everyone would agree with me when I say that it is a very challenging sport for those with perfect vision. Gymnastics requires that you be able to flip through the air either off of a floor, beam, bars, or a vault. To flip on a beam is very challenging, because for part of your flip you can’t see. But, as soon as you start to come down you have to quickly look for the beam so you know where to land. It is often that last second vision that keeps you from falling. Without that a flip is, as the news clip stated, a “leap of faith.”
To have to preform skills blind on something four inches wide, requires a kind of courage I can’t even comprehend. Gymnastics has always been considered a sport for the fearless, but what Walters is doing takes more than just fearlessness, it takes a determination and belief in one’s self that most people likely don’t have. I found Walter’s story truly inspirational. She truly is an example of what we all can achieve in life if we have determination and a belief in self.
To see her story visit this web address: