Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

August 9, 2012

AROUND THE TOWN: Paralympics athlete with local ties setting swimming records

CROSSVILLE — As the Olympics draw to a close, the Paralympics are getting ready to gear up. The Paralympics start in London, England, shortly after the conclusion of the Olympic Games. At least one of the athletes in the 2012 Paralympics has ties to Crossville.

Evan Austin of Terre Haute, IN, will be a member of the United States Paralympics Swim Team. Austin is expected to swim in six events including the 100 meter backstroke, 50, 100 and 400 freestyles and the 100 backstroke.

He is the grandson of Del and Pat Ford and the nephew of Pat and Susan Kirby, all of Lake Tansi Village. All four will no doubt be glued to their computers when their family member takes to the pool. I talked with Grandpa Del and Aunt Susan about Evan’s upcoming Paralympics, and both are as excited as possible, particularly since as a high school student, Evan just barely missed competing in Beijing.

Austin is a 2011 graduate of Terre Haute South and has already won four gold medals in Canada in the July Can-AM competitions. As of today, he  has broken 11 U.S. Paralympics Records. Austin became an official member of the U.S. Paralympics team on Father’s Day.

He will fly to Germany for team training before the entire team travels to London for the games. The Paralympics open Aug. 29 and last until Sept. 9. Games include swimming, judo, archery, equestrian, sitting volleyball and wheelchair games of basketball, fencing, rugby and tennis, just to name a few. Hundreds of countries participate in the Paralympics Games. The games also include the torch and opening ceremonies.

Evan suffers from familial spastic paraparesis. Also known as Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia or HSP, it refers to a group of degenerative spinal cord disorders characterized by gradual, progressive weakness and stiffness of the legs. The gradual deterioration may also cause problems with balance. Some 10,000 people in the United States have HSP.

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Congratulations to two local beauty queens. Becca Patton was named first runner-up in the National Pure American Girl Contest in Gatlinburg. She was also awarded the title of “Model of the Year.” Becca qualified for the national pageant after winning her age division in the state contest. She is the daughter of Earl and Rachel Patton and Jason and Becky Atkinson and is a freshman cheerleader at Cumberland County High School.

 Megan Holtcamp, a student at Tennessee Tech University, was named fourth place winner in the annual Putnam County Fairest of the Fair on Monday evening.

Speaking of pageants, Cumberland County Fair Pageant Director Frances Cunningham Brooks says applications are ready to be picked up at several area locations for the annual contests to be held later this month. The 5-6, 7-9 and 10-12 year old contests are Friday evening, Aug. 24. The 13-15 and 16 and up Fairest of the Fair will be on Saturday, Aug. 25.

Registration forms for ages 5-21 may be found at Dressy Cuts on 664 West Avenue and Deb’s Bridal in VF Factory Outlet Mall.

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