Dec 2nd, 2020 |
Kym Crosby (USA): Sprinting, Marriage & Albinism
Paralympic 100M bronze medalist and World Championship silver medalist, Kym Crosby has 'limited sight, limitless dreams.' Kym is legally blind, but she hasn't let that stand in the way of anything she sets her mind to, including becoming one of the world's fastest women.
As half-Jamaican, she identifies as bi-racial, but the world has rarely viewed her that way because she has albinism. In this episode we explore Kym's experience as a black woman with limited sight and albinism, and her marriage to fellow US Track & Field Paralympian, Erik Hightower. Serious power couple alert!
Experts interviewed include her Erik Hightower (Husband, Two time Paralympian), and Ero Ikponwosa (Independent Expert on the human rights of people with albinism, United Nations).
Audio clips from 'Challenged Athletes Live Q&A with Bob Babbitt: Episode Sixty Seven | Kym Crosby Hightower and Erik Hightower', The Orion's "Mini Profile | Blind Sprinter Kym Crosby", 7 New's coverage of SpotMyUV
Kym Crosby loves racing because it’s freeing, it’s the one thing she can do without any help. She’s a Paralympic sprinter who competed in the Rio games, and is on her way to Tokyo in 2021. She was born with albinism and has 2400 vision, which makes her legally blind. She’s coined the phrase limited sight, limitless dreams as a motto to live by, and inspire her Paralympic pursuits.
In the Rio 2016 Paralympics, Kim won a bronze medal. She says she wasn’t that confident going in, because the world record for her race was shattered during the prelims. Because she’s visually impaired the race was over, she had no idea how she’d fared. A photographer stopped her to give his congratulations - he was the one tell her she’d medadled in the race.
Racing is a family sport, Kym’s husband, Erik Hightower is also a US track and field Paralympian. Erik was born with spina bifida and has been wheelchair racing for over a decade. He and Kym are able to travel and train together. Erik and Kym say they’re teammates in life as well.
Kym was born with albinism and as a result began losing her sight in high school, when she started using a cane. In college she got her seeing eye dog, Keystone, who she credits with saving her life. Kym is also bi-racial, and half Jamaican though she says it’s not how she’s usually viewed given that albinism makes her skin light. Kym had a lot of issues with her skin and sunscreen growing up because of her sport and albinism. She recently accepted a sponsorship with SPOTMYUV; a sticker that helps remind you when to reapply sunscreen. She says she hasn’t gotten a sunburn since using the product.
Ikponwosa Ero was appointed as the first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism. She too is a black woman in the albinism community, and says people in her and Kim’s position have a unique perspective on racism because of their perceived whiteness and ability to witness to racism against their families. The biggest thing you can do to help people with albinism, Ero says is help raise awareness. She and Kym are leaders in the movement to raise this kind of awareness.
Kym leaves listeners with the advice to not take anything too personally, and to surround yourself with positivity.
Learn more about Kim Crosby.
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