By Cheryl Heppner, 7/30/2012
The London Olympics are becoming a showcase for numerous athletes who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as one musician. The opening ceremony that featured the daring delivery of Queen Elizabeth by Daniel Craig was also an event where Scottish virtuoso Dame Evelyn Glennie rocked the place with her percussion in the 1,000-drummer piece “And I Will Kiss”. She has been profoundly deaf since age 11.
Some athletes with hearing loss are:
USA Women Basketball – Tamika Catchings was born with hearing loss in both ears. She recently got a new set of hearing aids thanks to Bill and Tani Austin of the Starkey Foundation. She is grateful to her college coach, Tennessee’s Pat Summitt, and trainer Jenny Moshak for encouraging her to check out speech therapy and hearing aids.
US Men Volleyball – David Smith was a 6’7” surprise addition to the team. He says he was born “nearly deaf” and primarily uses lipreading to understand his teammates. He once told a reporter that his main problem is that his hearing aids go out when he sweats a lot. David got new hearing aids before the Olympics and is hoping they will be more sweat resistant.
USA Men Diving - Chris Colwill can’t wear his hearing aids when diving, so he isn’t able to hear his name or his dive being announced. Chris thinks this gives him an edge over other competitors because he can tune out noise distractions. He had a bad moment at the trials when a TV camera blocked his view of the scoreboard so he was unable to check his dive number, but all ended well. He aced a reverse 3 ½ somersault for his last dive, which has a degree of difficulty that one official called “through the roof”.
Have you discovered other 2012 Olympians who are deaf or hard of hearing?
- Thanks to NVRC, Fairfax