Military News

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Former Army Cadet Captures Paralympic Silver Medal

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

LONDON – Many Paralympic athletes participating in the 2012 Paralympic Games here have overcome diseases, injuries or other afflictions. But not many have suffered through a combination of all of those factors and still rose above them to experience success in their chosen sports the way Jennifer Schuble, a former cadet and three-letter varsity athlete at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., has been able to.

The former Army cadet suffered a traumatic brain injury during hand-to-hand combat training at the academy. She later was involved in a car accident in which her right arm was crushed and her TBI was exacerbated. In a final challenging blow, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004.

Schuble, now a two-time Paralympian, spoke to American Forces Network here yesterday about the thrill of winning her second medal Sept. 1 at the Olympic Park's Velodrome and the electrifying crowd.

“It's just amazing hearing all the noises, screaming and roaring,” she said. “This is the loudest crowd I've ever raced in. And it's a sold-out crowd. It's just so amazing -- all these people, [and] they're screaming for us. It's just an environment that [brings excitement. People are wearing ear plugs [because] it's so loud in here. It's just like, ‘Wow!”

Schuble won her silver medal in the in the 500-meter time trial paracycling event, an event in which she earned the gold medal during the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

“I knew I had to time the [starting] gate just right,” she said. “I had to get out fast. [I knew] I could jump it after all the false starts that happened earlier by other competitors throughout the week, and I timed the gate just right and went out like a rock star. I had the fastest lap, and I was holding on for dear life. I rode the fastest lap I've ever rode. It wasn't a gold medal round – I didn't defend my gold title – but still, Sarah [Storey of Great Britain] rode a great ride.”

Schuble said she’s pleased with her silver medal, and that she also has a bronze medal to add to her accomplishments, earned with her teammates in yesterday’s team sprint cycling event.

Although she has faced many mental and physical hurdles, Schuble has demonstrated the ability to continuously adapt and overcome the challenges of her disabilities.

“What helped me get through this is I set goals for myself,” she said. “I keep looking forward. I don't look back. And that's what kept me focused.”

Schuble noted she's been working in the gym to improve her balance and coordination. “That's what's kept me healthy and my disease in check,” she said.

Along with her resilience in overcoming her disabilities to be a successful Paralympic athlete, Schuble has applied her drive to academics as well. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a master's degree in production operation research, and she works full-time as an engineer for Mercedes-Benz Corp.

Although she didn't defend her gold here, Schuble said, she is satisfied with her performance after training for the last four years.

“I didn't get my Paralympic gold medal in the 500, but I got a silver, and I rode a personal best,” she noted. “So, I mean, to get two medals so far in the [2012] Paralympic Games, and I still have two more events, I can't be more happy.”

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