Cable hopes to win gold in Paralympics
Candace Cable has never accepted second-best.
One time, at a race in Japan, she was offered a small women’s
award for her win, while the men received large trophies.
Cable refused the paltry offering, demanding the same respect
as the men. In true Cable style, she left with a trophy.
To Cable, the issue isn’t doing more. She’s done plenty.
Multiple Boston Marathons, trips to the Paralympics and a recent
induction into the Wheelchair Sports Hall of Fame all serve to
fatten her already-complete resume.
To Cable, who is returning to the Paralympics, held this March
in Nagano, Japan, directly after the Olympic Winter Games, the
goal is simply to win.
Though Cable was paralyzed more than twenty years ago in a car
crash, she has gone on to become one of world’s top competitors
in both track and field events and sit-skiing.
She racked up three gold medals at the 1980 Paralympics in Holland,
five in Seoul in 1988 and one at the Barcelona games.
But the gold came for track and field events. In 1994, Cable competed
in sit-ski events for the first time at the winter Paralympic
games in Lillehammer, earning three fifth place finishes.
Previously, she had competed in downhill events at the 1992 winter
games in Tignes, France, winning a second, two thirds and a fourth
“Lillehammer was my very first cross-country skiing and I had
no clue what I was doing,” Cable said.
Still, at 43, Cable is considered very young for her sport. She
said the best female sit-skier in the world is a Norwegian in
her late 50s.
“The ages are a lot older than with able-bodied sports because
a lot of the athletes’ disabilities happen when they’re in their
20s, which is when able-bodied athletes are at their peak,” Cable
With the help of Michael Byxbe, who Cable calls “a real technoid,”
the equipment Cable uses is either home-made or highly-tweaked.
“Our equipment is pretty primitive,” said Cable. “Michael has
taken existing technology and created a ski that moves. Most frames
are rigid; you’re a slave to the terrain or you always have to
be in a track. Now I don’t need a track.”
Byxbe and Cable will attest to the fact the equipment is not cheap.
To raise the thousands of dollars needed to train and travel to
trials and competitions, Cable recently sold calendars featuring
wheelchair and other disabled athletes competing in various sports
from skiing to wheelchair bungee-jumping.
Cable said she sold about half of the calendars, but that wouldn’t
stop her from going to Japan.
“My dad, Lou Conners, has been selling calendars like crazy,”
She estimated Conners, a South Tahoe roofer, had already sold
several hundred calendars on behalf of her.
Early January Paralympic trials held in Lake Placid, N.Y., put
Cable, largely recognized as the world’s first female sit-skier,
on the road to another Olympic city.
It didn’t come easy, Cable said. She battled fresh snow, 30 below
temperatures and rain to earn the spot.
She will ski in the 2.5K, 5K and 10K races at the games, held
March 5-14 after the Olympic games in Nagano.
Like Nash and the other Truckee Olympians, Cable has never skied
“It’s probably a pretty wet snow being on an island,” Cable said.
“When we get there, it will be more spring-like.”
Cable is optimistic about her chances. She is in top form and
excited about the upcoming trip.
“It would be exciting if I could medal,” Cable said. “Of all the
sports I’ve done, I consider this one the most difficult and challenging.
To excel and succeed would be a real dream come true.”
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