Ryan Estep secures spot for London 2012

August 12">


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.

ryan gold.jpg (29540 bytes)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 women’s gold. In Brazil, in the round of 16, she was edged out to end up in 9th place, still a respectable world class finish!

So, 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.wheeliesforLONDON.jpg (91751 bytes)

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)