The White House has said it has chosen Democratic Illinois Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth to head the U.S. delegation to next month’s Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Duckworth, who represents the 8th District in Illinois, lost both her legs and partial use of one arm when she was attacked piloting a Blackhawk helicopter in Iraq in 2004. She will lead a presidential delegation to Sochi that will attend athletic events, meet with U.S. athletes and attend the opening ceremony on March 7th.
The Paralympics are worldwide events held immediately after the Olympics that focus on athletes with disabilities and draws official delegations from participating countries. As a representative who has actively pursued expanding services for wounded vets and rights and visibility for the disabled, Duckworth said it was an honor to be chosen.
“It is a tremendous honor to be part of the Paralympic games with such heroic athletes,” said Duckworth in a statement. “It is a sad fact that in many countries around the world, the disabled are hidden, considered to be an embarrassment and not afforded the accommodations needed for them to lead productive lives. The athletes of the Paralympic games are an inspiration for the disabled citizens of the world and an example of what we can accomplish.”
Since losing her legs in 2004, Duckworth has completed two marathons as part of the Achilles Freedom Team, which mainly compromises wounded Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.