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Rachael Scdoris, Blind Sled Dog Racer
Rachael Scdoris is one of those people who stands out as an inspiration to others of all generations. She would be impressive even without her disability because she's an outstanding dog musher who has been competing in these types of sled races since the age of twelve. However, this is even more impressive because of the fact that Rachael Scdoris is legally blind. She hasn't let this disability hinder her from achieving any of her goals and has even competed in the pretigious Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska.
The Iditarod (as it is commonly known) is a sled dog race that takes place each year to challenge the best of the world's dog mushers. The race covers over 1000 miles of land and lasts between 1-2 weeks. To compete at this level shows extreme skill in the sport as well as an ability to withstand the pressure of competition even in extreme weather conditions such as those in Alaska. Dog sled racers dream of being able to compete at this level.
Dog sled racing is a sport which is enjoyed by people from colder regions. Teams of dogs are trained to race for long distances in snowy weather (including blizzards). These teams are led by the dog racer or musher. A musher must have a unique combination of skills to be able to gain the trust and yet control the actions of an entire team of dogs that are racing in this type of weather. This combination of traits includes strength, patience, drive, athletic prowess, and respect for both animals and nature.
Rachael Scdoris has all of these traits. Additionally, she stands out as a musher who has persevered through a disability that most others in her position would assume prevents them from competing in a sport at this level. Ignoring the precedent set before her, Rachael Scdoris competed in the Iditarod in 2005. She was the first legally blind person ever to compete in this race. This points to the fact that she is the kind of person who has been able to identify her dream in life and to go after it wholeheartedly despite the obstacles that may stand in her way.
Rachael Scdoris did have some assistance during the Iditarod. She was allowed to compete under special regulations in congruence with the American Disabilities Act. The accommodations made for her situation included such things as the assistance of a visual interpreter who warned her of the terrain and conditions via two-way radio. These accommodations were minimal and were designed specifically to give her the same abilities in the race as everyone else had. The fact that she persisted in gaining these rights is another testament to her ability and willingness to chase her dreams.
The story of Rachael Scdoris's life and work as a musher is detailed in a book called No End In Sight which was authored by Rick Steber. It's an encouraging book for anyone to read. It is particularly great for people who are dealing with disabilities and struggling with the feelings of frustration and broken dreams that can come along with the ups and downs of having a disability. It is also a great book for athletes who always have to surmount certain odds in order to excel in their sports. Rachael is an inspiration not only to athletes, not only to the blind population but to all people who can empathize with the desire to chase dreams that aren't always easy to obtain.
- Rachael Scdoris
- Rachael Scdoris
- The Official Rachael Scdoris Website
- Blind dogsledder races toward victory - Today Show - MSNBC.com
- Rachael Scdoris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- NPR: Blind Ambition: Woman Set for Iditarod Sled Race
- The Official Site of the Iditarod
- Learn About the Iditarod
- Iditarod - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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