Truckee’s Hall of Fame athlete
While there may not yet be a building housing the Wheelchair Sports Hall of Fame, induction is rare and the highest of honors. Now the hall can count a Truckee resident among its members.
Wheelchair track racer and cross country skier Candace Cable recently received a letter of nomination into the hall of fame, but said she blew it off, knowing how many people must be nominated each year.
“I was like, ‘yeah, right,’ when I got the letter,” Cable said.
Cable said normally when an athlete is nominated for the honor, it takes several years for the acceptance and induction to become reality. But another letter arrived several months later and she had been accepted.
Some years two or three inductees are named, in other years, none. This year, Cable was the only inductee.
The induction ceremony came in early October at the annual Wheelchair Sports USA delegates meeting in Dallas.
“It is one of the highest honors you can receive from your peers because it is voted on by people within the national organization,” said Cable.
The Wheelchair Sports USA organizers seem to think just as highly of Cable, who was paralyzed in a Lake Tahoe car crash in the ’70s.
“Candace is an outstanding, phenomenal athlete,” said Wheelchair Sports Program Manager Todd Hatfield. “The hall of fame is not exactly easy to gain entry into, but Candace has been at the very top of her sport since the early ’80s. In 1991 she held the record in every single distance in the track and field events.”
Cable said she never planned her career around getting into the hall of fame.
“I was really surprised,” said Cable. “I thought you didn’t get into the hall of fame unless you were retired and not competing anymore.”
Shooting for the Gold
She is, in fact, competing more than ever. At the end of this month, Cable will travel to Lake Placid for the 1998 Paralympic team trials, held simultaneously with the Olympic trials.
Her goal, like thousands of other hopefuls across the world, is Nagano, Japan. Her sport will be cross country skiing.
To raise money needed to cover her travel and training expenses, Candace has produced a calendar for 1998 featuring athletes; some are in wheelchairs, others are double- amputees.
Cable said the idea for the calendar came to her in 1996, but she wasn’t able to get enough support for one until this past spring. That’s when she said she hooked up with good friend and Tahoe calendar producer Dave Zischke.
With the help of Zischke and Emmy award-winning photographer Eric Perlman, pictures started flooding in and soon Cable had a complete calendar. It is now on sale at local bookstores and other businesses.
The funds raised will cover Cable’s travel, training and equipment expenses. She said she feels good about her chances to make it into the 1998 Paralympics.
“I feel good and pretty fit. I skied really well in Colorado,” Cable said of a recent competition. “You get out there and think you’ll forget how to ski, but you get on the snow and say, ‘oh, I remember this.'”
Additionally, Cable is donating five percent of the calendar’s sales to the financially-strapped Truckee Library.
“Reading is really important and I know the library needs help,” said Cable. “Reading has given me lots of opportunities.”
Aside from training for the Paralympics, Cable is working on a 1999-2000 14-month calendar, which will also feature wheelchair and amputee athletes.
Pioneer and role model
Since her accident, Cable has turned misfortune into opportunity, going on to become a leader in wheelchair sports activism and competition. In 1992, Wheelchair Sports USA recognized her as athlete of the year. Cable said she’s even been in some of the sports since their inception.
“I’ve been a part of wheelchair racing since its beginning and I helped with creating the rules and guidelines for racing,” said Cable. “I’ve also been pushing for the women’s divisions to be equal with the men’s. I guess I’m pretty vocal.”
And it is her vocal quality and determination that has hoisted her to the top of her field and into wheelchair sports history.
Cable said she is currently working to create more opportunities for women and people over 40 who participate in wheelchair sports. She is encouraging women to participate and stay physically fit, something she said all women should do, wheelchair or not.
Cable subscribes to the philosophy sports can teach us all a lot about life.
“Competitive sports teaches you to deal with everyday life. It teaches about making decisions quickly and evaluating situations with competitors. It’s about interacting with people and working with a group,” said Cable. “People don’t always think about that. Sometimes competitive sports gets a bad rap.”
To order the calendar, call Cable at 587-2283.
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