A tale of two world class athletes
It certainly was a unique setting for two world class athletes to exchange greetings. Nonetheless, Daron Rahlves flashed a wide grin as he reached out to shake hands with Candace Cable Monday afternoon at Scolaris Food & Drug Company in Gardnerville, where they participated in a sweepstakes prize presentation for Oroweat bread.Rahlves, a veteran alpine ski racer who competed in three Winter Olympic Games, was on hand to present a $10,000 check to Gardnerville resident Dan Esau for winning Oroweats Winning Perfected sweepstakes grand prize. Cable, a nine-time gold medal winner in winter and summer Paralympic competition, was there to accept a $10,000 check from Oroweat on behalf of Scolaris to the U.S. Paralympics program.This was a meeting of athletes who are practically neighbors in Truckee, athletes who have long been highly visible in their respective arenas, and who are now in the process of shifting gears and taking in different directions in their competitive lives.This also happens to be a tale of two athletes who took very different paths to their respective victory podiums.
Cable, who will celebrate her 52nd birthday on Saturday, is one of the nations most successful disabled athletes. Just look at her collection of 14 medals nine of which are gold from competing at both the Winter and Summer Paralympic Games. Oh, and by the way, she found time to qualify for the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon and become a six-time winner of the Boston Marathon womens wheelchair division.Disabled? Hardly, although she has had to overcome more than a few obstacles since sustaining severe injuries in an automobile accident on Kingsbury Grade in 1975.It all happened so fast just like that, she said. My Jeep flipped, I landed on my back, and all of a sudden, I couldnt feel my legs.All of a sudden, Cables life as she knew it had changed. I realized that who I was in the past wasnt going to work anymore, she said in a 2000 interview. I had to completely re-invent myself.So, thats how Cable was transformed from working as a blackjack dealer at what was then known as the Sahara Tahoe at Stateline into an international athlete.Sports saved my life, said Cable, who moved to Truckee in 1989. I had never been an athlete before, but once I became involved with adaptive sports, it changed my life.Like Rahlves, Cable was in Italy earlier this year, where she competed in the Paralympics. And like Rahlves, she announced it would be her last run at International Games.Among other things, Cable qualified for but was unable to finish at the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon in 2004. Injuries from a skiing accident prevented her from returning in 2005 and a broken femur she sustained in May will prevent her from competing this year.Next year, yes I will getting that I.M. done, she said.Nor does Cable have any plans to give up her outdoors lifestyle.Im trying everything I can … a lot of different stuff. But Im not jumping off anything; Im not going to try bungee jumping, or anything like that, she said with a laugh. Its just so great to have that feeling of health and wellness. We all need that. Mondays check presentation was a good example how she plans to stay involved with Paralympics. This money will help (U.S. Paralympics), it will help the grassroots, and it will help create awareness of what its all about, Cable said. My goal is to let people know that no matter what happens, you always have options and possibilities.In addition to her involvement with the Paralympics, Cable said she would like to spend more of her energy focusing on her non-profit organization, called Turning Point Tahoe. The non-profit is one of four chapters under the umbrella of Turning Point, a national organization out of Texas that has been in existence for 25 years every one of which Cable has a been a part of. The organization encourages participation in outdoor recreation for people in wheelchairs, Cable said.The other three chapters under Turning Point are in Tennessee, North Carolina and Oklahoma, making hers the only one on the West Coast.
Rahlves, now 32, came up as a product of Americas developmental alpine ski program … 13 years of competing on the World Cup circuit and trips to the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, 2002 in Salt Lake City and 2006 in Torino.He retired after winning the super-G at the U.S. Alpine Championships, ending a run in which he posted 12 career World Cup victories and a super-G gold medal at the 2001 World Championships in St. Anton, Austria.After all that travel, however, hes quite happy to be back home.Im getting to relax and see a different side again, getting more of a summer vacation, Rahlves said. Im riding dirt bikes … getting out on the lake … stuff like that. Its all stuff Ive done before, but Ive only had a small window for a long time.There is no summer vacation when youre on the national ski team.There were times when Id be able to get in a quick motocross session in Carson City or do some wakeboarding, but only after Ive done my lifting in the morning. And after that, Id be so tired, I wouldnt be able to enjoy myself.That doesnt even take into account traveling to train in New Zealand in August, then returning to the U.S. for more conditioning in September and October to prepare for a World Cup season that would extend into April. Ah, but Rahlves isnt ready to give up competition entirely. Not just yet.For example, he signed a letter-of-intent on Monday to participate on The Ski Tour, a competitive venture in which athletes will have an opportunity to test various skills.Theyre trying to merge racing with free skiing, Rahlves said. It looks good right now. Theyre going to have four events, and Im hoping one of those will be at Tahoe. ABC has signed to come on board. I think its going to be a great way to promote skiing.While he wants to relax a little, Rahlves says he is still competitive.I still like to battle, he said. I like challenges like that.
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