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Calgary Paralympian gets ready in Rio to throw herself into competition

Athlete Jennifer Brown talks staying focused

Calgary Paralympian Jennifer Brown says despite the pressure of competing in Rio it’s just another track meet like foothills park, the process is the same.

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Calgary Paralympian Jennifer Brown says despite the pressure of competing in Rio it’s just another track meet like foothills park, the process is the same.

Calgary Paralympic athlete Jennifer Brown said “It’s a focus thing.”

Brown - a discus and track-and-field competitor and the rest of her fellow Canadian track teammates chose not to attend the opening ceremonies. Instead, the athletes choose to watch the ceremonies in the main floor of their building in Olympic Village decorated in Canadian emblems.

Brown is a part of the approximately 155 Canadian athletes competing at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. “By the time you go and you wait to go into the stadium and you wait here, and you wait there, it’s a fair amount of waiting” she said.

Although Brown figured it would be a spectacular show, not wanting to throw off any patterns this close to a competition is not a risk she’s willing to take.

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2006, Brown lost the mobility in her legs hospitalizing her. Running track in high school and competing as an able-bodied athlete in the past, Brown wanted to get healthy and stronger again - a process that required intense focus as well.

“It’s really just a process,” Brown said. “You just follow the process, we’ve been on the same process since three years I’ve started track. When we stick to the plan things work out well, that’s when I perform my best.”

According to David Legg, of the International Paralympic Committee it’s important for athletes to be ‘choosy’ about where they spend their energies.

“[The athletes] treat this a bit like a job, in that they’re coming here to accomplish something - they’re coming here to get something done.”

Nonetheless, Brown says it’s important to take some time off and witness the amazing spectacle of being a paralympic competitor.

“It isn’t necessarily you have to be ultimate-laser-sharp focused every time,” Brown said. “But for me it’s keeping in mind we’ve done all the work to get here, we just keep doing the work and I will do the best I can.”

Describing herself as a ‘strong’ athlete working on getting faster, Brown said there’s not one type of athlete in track especially throughout the disability spectrum of the paralympic games.

“It’s my favorite sport,” Brown said. “It’s just awesome, but the thing I love about track is you see everything there are people who can run forever there are people that are super springly there are people that are quick that are strong.”

Brown will be competing against other coordination impaired paralympians Saturday Sept. 17th in both track-and-field and discus.  

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