Tom & Hillary visit paralympian on his way to London
Going for the gold. As athletes all over the world gear up for the Paralympics in London in a few weeks, a local athlete is getting in some last minute practice before he heads across the pond. Earlier this week, Tom and Hillary had the chance to meet Topekan Austin Hanson. He’s a paralympic boccia ball player, and he’s no stranger to the pressure of tough competition or the paralympic games.
Austin leaves for London Saturday morning to represent the USA in boccia ball. He’s currently ranked 21st in the world in his sport, and he represented the USA at the paralympic games in Atlanta in 1996 and in 2004 in Athens. This year he’s representing the USA in the individual competition and is the only U.S. boccia ball player in the games.
Austin said one of this favorite parts about going to the games are the patriotic feelings he gets during the opening ceremonies.
Boccia ball is originally an Italian game. He says he spends about three to five hours a day practicing for London. Austin’s father is also involved in the gaming process. Austin is a quadriplegic with spastic cerebral palsy. He non-verbally and communicates with his father, who helps him line up the ramps right where and how Austin wants them.