Fast Cuban with no arms headed to 2012 Paralympic Games
As a young teen in Cuba, Damian Lopez Alfonso loved flying kites. When his kite got caught in a high voltage power line, Damian used a pole to retrieve it. The next thing he knows, he wakes up in the hospital with both lower arms and most of his face missing.
Damian biked before his accident, and he taught himself to bike again without arms. He flipped the drop handlebars up so he could steer, brake and shift with the nubs of his arms. And he got very, very fast.
A couple of years ago, cyclists in New York City began to take note of this Cuban racer. Damian now trains in New York, surprising people as he zips past while cycling with no arms. They helped get him surgeries, prosthetics, and sponsorships to enable Damian to compete in the Paralympics. He competed in the Pan American Games last November in Guadalajara. Last Spring, Damian learned he will represent his country at the Paralympic Games this August in London.
He has a pretty amazing story. Learn more about Damian Lopez Alfonso:
- Latino USA: Revisiting Damian Alfonso, Cuban cyclist [radio show MP3 download]
- New York Times: The Long Hard Ride of Damian Lopez Alfonso.
- New York Times: Cyclist Damian Lopez Alfonso heads for Paralympics.