IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country SkiingWorld Championships 2011

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    January 2020
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Jody Barber: I won’t let anybody tell me what I can and what I cannot do

In her exclusive interview to the World Championships Press-Center, Jody Barber of Canada told about her impressions of the Winter Sports Center in Khanty-Mansiysk, her getting acquaintance with Russian cuisine.

Jody, what do the Canadians think about people with physical disabilities?

- I think the society got more interested in them after the Paralympic Games in Vancouver. I mean not only Canada, but the whole world. During all the competitions were watching the athletes. We can say that the Paralympiad inspired the part of society which used to be indifferent to us.

How many such athletes in your country?

- I don’t know exactly, as I got injured and changed the category only four years ago. But a lot of people I know, I mean disabled, do sports. And it is really surprising. As for my city, there are not so many such athletes there.

In your opinion, what problems do the athletes with disabilities have?

- In my opinion people often underestimate their abilities. And that’s the biggest problem. They think that we are helpless. When I got injured, the doctors told me that I could never swim or ride a bicycle again. And what it more, they made me think that I could never be a strong rival to anybody. At first I believed them, but then I said to myself: “I won’t let anybody tell me what I can and what I cannot do!” I started training and soon I realized that I could swim and I could ride a bicycle and do many more things. People have to understand, that the diagnosis it not the end of life.

How do the athletes with disabilities train in your county?

- There is a National Training Center in Canada, where the athletes can train all the year round. I go there several times a year for trainings and competitions. Besides, one can always do self-trainings. So, when I come back I’m going to ski a little more. I have a big training plan for the summer – I will run, backpack, do triathlon and I will also go to the training camp.

How do you see the ideal society, where people with disabilities and others are treated in a same way?

- I’m sure that we should keep together and support as well as communicate with each other more often. And then everyone will see that we are equal. I was knocked down by a car right before the triathlon championships, and I didn’t even know before, that Paralympic Cross-country skiing existed. I saw students on the stands, and I think it is right, they should understand that people are different.

Why did you decide to do sports?

- All my family does sports. When I was younger I did running, and took up triathlon and Nordic skiing recently. In spite of all that had happened I’m still doing sports. I have 5 children and they are athletes too.

Do you communicate with representatives of other teams? Have you got new acquaintances so far?

- We spend a lot of time with guys from Finland. I also had a chat with two athletes of my category from Poland team. Unfortunately it is difficult to communicate with Russian and Ukrainian athletes, because of the language.

Do you feel comfortable in Khanty-Mansiysk?

- Yes, everything is good. A great hotel, tasty food, which is not to find in Canada. There always are fresh vegetables and fruit. I have a better sleep here than anywhere else in Europe, and that’s great! It is April but snow conditions are perfect. And the whole Winter Sports Center is wonderful. I took some pictures and sent them to my husband, he was impressed.

Have you already seen the city?

Jody: I’m jogging near the church in the mornings. Your city is very beautiful. We are going out to have dinner tonight. And tomorrow we’ll visit the Man and Nature Museum.

Thank you for such an interesting conversation. Good luck!

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Team standings
1 Russia 20 13 15 48
2 Ukraine 8 9 6 23
3 Norway 1 5 3 9
4 Canada 5 2 7
4 Poland 1 5 1 7
6 Germany 2 4 6
6 Belarus 1 2 2 5
8 Finland 4 4
8 Italy 2 1 3
10 France 1 1