Olympics inspire student athletes


Jeromie Meyer

John Leahey, Journalist

This Paralympic season, many in the Whitewater community are gearing up to watch the games, especially those in the sports community. Jeromie Meyer, a para-athlete on the Whitewater wheelchair basketball team, is one of them. Meyer is a senior this year majoring in physical education and prefers to watch the Paralympics.

“I’m a little bit biased. I’d rather watch the Paralympics over the regular Olympics, and that’s just because I have more of a connection to the Paralympics,” said Meyer.

Meyer was very active as a child, participating in sports like basketball, football, and wrestling. When he was 10 years old, he was struck by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle. The accident left him paralyzed from the hips down, necessitating a wheelchair. Meyer was already fond of watching wheelchair basketball, so it only seemed natural that he gravitated towards it. He has gone on to play on the 2017 U-23 junior national team, he has been in 3 USA national trials, and he plans to go to the Paralympic tryouts this spring.

“I have so far enjoyed aspiring to be a Paralympic athlete. I hope to continue down that road and maybe one day hit that pinnacle of being a senior national team member that goes and plays in a Paralympic event, which I think would be really cool,” said Meyer.

Meyer also wants to bring some fame back to campus. In addition to becoming a Paralympian, he wants to win a national championship for Whitewater. The university has a prestigious wheelchair basketball record, with the men’s and women’s team winning 16 total intercollegiate national championships from 1982-2016. Meyer wants to keep the streak going.

“I think accomplishing that would really help the program with recruiting and returning to the hard knock culture of everybody wanting to work hard and sacrificing a little bit of their game to benefit the greater good of the team,” said Meyer. “I think it would be good to go down as a household name.”

Whitewater has many athletes like Meyer who put in tremendous amounts of effort into strengthening the university’s sports reputation, all while following their passion. This Olympic season, just like any other, is a very exciting time, and this excitement will no doubt show itself during the games.