In one publication on social networks, Meyers explained his decision and shared his side of the story on the accommodation the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee offered him.
“The USOPC has denied me a reasonable and essential accommodation for me, as a deafblind athlete, to be able to compete in Tokyo, repeatedly telling me that I don’t need a personal care assistant (PCA) “I trust” because there will be a single PCA on staff who is available to help me and 33 other Paralympic swimmers, 9 of whom are also visually impaired. The USOPC has approved me to have a trusted PCA (my mom) at all international competitions since 2017, but this time it’s different. With COVID, there are new security measures and limits on non-essential personnel in place, and rightly so, but a trusted BCP is essential for me to compete. ”
When Meyers is in competition, she dominates. The Baltimore native, who was born deaf from Usher syndrome and has gradually lost her sight since, won three gold and one silver at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro. She won silver and bronze at the London Games in 2012.
Although Meyers was successful at the 2016 Paralympic Games, it was not an entirely joyous experience. Meyers told the Washington Post that she was initially unable to find the dining hall during the Games and therefore quit eating, an experience that “frustrated” and “terrified” her.
Meyers, who has vowed never to allow such an experience to happen again, told the Post that she discussed her concerns about PCA with the USOPC in May. These discussions did not go far.
“They spoke right above me,” Meyers told the Post. “They fired me. They said, ‘This is what we have, you’re going to have to take care of it.’ “
New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan came to the defense of Meyers and other disabled athletes at a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions hearing on Tuesday.
The 2021 Paralympic Games, of which Meyers will no longer be a part, are scheduled to take place from August 24 to September 5 in Tokyo.