Cable hopes to win gold in Paralympics |

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,”

Cable said.

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

in Japan.

“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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