The Paralympics are an incredible show of perseverance and inspiration. Paralympians are all so talented, and they show that nothing can stop you if you try hard enough.
One such Para Athlete is Anastasia Pagonis. Anastasia is a blind 17-year old from America. She lost her sight when she was 14, as a result of an autoimmune disease, but that hasn’t stopped her. This year she qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in Japan.
Anastasia is a swimmer, a good one too. Just the other day, on the 29 August, she won Gold in the S11 400-meter freestyle. She smashed the competition with a time of 4 minutes and 54.49 seconds – a full 10 seconds ahead of the second-fastest swimmer. That’s a new world record! She also achieved bronze in the 200 meter medley, and 4th in the 100m freestyle.
The whole way, Anastasia’s 2 million Tik Tok followers have been cheering her on. That’s right, on the social media platform Tik Tok, Anastasia—@anastasia_k_p on the app—has over 2 million followers! ( Me included! ) She posts frequently about her blindness and any questions her fans might have, as well as her Paralympic Journey. “I just want to teach people that this is blind, not just what you think is blind where you have to wear sunglasses and you can’t do anything,” she told Team USA. “This is blind.”
A couple of things I have learnt from Anastasia are, that you should always believe in yourself, and keep on trying even when the going gets tough. When Anastasia first lost her vision, she was extremely afraid of the water, and couldn’t even swim to the other side of the pool without crashing into a lane rope, or ending up in tears. But she persevered and look at her now! She is such a sweet, and inspiring person, and she hasn’t let her disability stop her from doing what she loves: making content.
Together with her guide dog Radar, she is entertaining millions and breaking world records! She is an inspiration to us all, and the only thing any para-athletes who need some encouragement need to do is scroll through her account.
Article Written by Isla Martin – Year 8 Aquinas College