Ryan Estep secures spot for London 2012
August 12, 2011
Sao Paulo, Brazil - In a 15-12 victory over Canadian, Pierre Mainvile,
Ark-La-Miss's own Ryan Estep claimed a second gold medal for the USA in Wheelchair Epee
and in the process earned himself an automatic spot in the London Paralympics 2012, and
maybe a little payback for his teammate, Joey Brinson (also Ark-La-Miss) who took the
bronze medal after his loss to Mainvile.
After the final victory, he celebrated with his teammates. "I was so
overwhelmed when I scored the final touch that I just wanted to share the moment with my
team 'cause all our hard work had finally paid off," Estep said.
IIt was only six years ago that a car accident ended his career in
college football, and began his journey at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson,
Mississippi. When I was doing disability counseling, there was a girl who was on the
wheelchair team and she said she could kick my butt in fencing, so I thought no
way and had to try it. And while he may never share the outcome of that
historical encounter, Estep will tell you that it was the beginning of three years of hard
training, a great deal of difficulty traveling and scraping together enough money to enter
competitions, but it was all worth it this Friday when he landed the final touch.
In the celebration of Estep's accomplishment in Brazil, it is easy to overlook the other
great fencers from MRC. They collectively form the biggest group in the USA - an estimated
40% of all wheelchair fencers are from Jackson, and all due to the Herculean efforts of
the force 15 hurricane known as Ginny Boydston! Through her tireless efforts, this
group continues to grow and regularly brings home national and regional medals for our
division. In Brazil, Joey Brinson won bronze, nothing to sneeze at, except for the gold
went to his teammate Estep! Brinson fought well and came close to qualifying for London.
The ladies are certainly known for turning in impressive results as well. Sonia Fogel
regularly wins womens gold. In Brazil, in the round of 16, she was edged out to end
up in 9th place, still a respectable world class finish!
our division is leading the way with our enthusiastic wheelchair fencers. If you would like to play a part of Ryan Estep's
(or any of the Methodist Rehab Rollerblades) pursuit of Paralympic gold, please do
so by making a donation through Caddo Bossier Foundation for Sword Sports or Methodist
Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, Miss.
Front Row: Sonya Perduta (AZ), Cat Bouwkamp (IN), Mario
Rodriguez (SO CAL), Ryan Estep (ALM), Joey Brinson (ALM)
Back Row: Les Stawicki (KY), Ginny Boyston (ALM), David Williams (ALM)