Haven Shepherd was born in Vietnam on March 10, 2003. Su nombre original era Do Thi Thuy Phuong, pero When he was 16 months old, his father detonated a bomb to which he had chained himself and to which he had also tied his wife and little girl., product of a marital conflict. The adults were blown up and Haven was blown up, but she survived the blast. The consequence of the burns suffered was that her legs were amputated below the knee. Today he represents the United States at the Paralympic Games and his story is inspiring.
In November 2004, two months after the death of his parents, Haven was adopted by Shelly and Rob Shepherd, a Missouri couple, who encouraged her to set out and fulfill her life goals. The young woman, who is already in her university studies, dedicated a large part of her life to swimming and Tokyo 2020 is the date of her Olympic debut. There he will compete in the 100 meter backstroke and 200 styles.
The story of Haven Shepherd, Paralympic swimmer
Of course, she was not the only child of the Shepherds. Haven came into their lives and that of the other six children of the couple, together with whom she became one more and the peculiarity of her story was just that: “I have always joked with my brothers that I am the miracle girl. I am the favorite of mom and dad, “he said in an interview conducted by the International Paralympic Committee, a meeting in which he referred to the second chance of his life: “I am very grateful that they saved me. I just lost my legs. He could have lost his life. You always have to look at the positive: I know I had a very bad situation, but I went out, I had that second chance ”.
Today, at age 16, Haven walks on prosthetic legs and doesn’t stop for a second. She started swimming competitively as a child: “Swimming makes me feel free,” she says, and her family stresses that she never lets her disability get in the way of her goals.
“I can remember that in one of my first body swim encounters I took my legs off at lift eight and then realized that I was supposed to be on lift one. When I finished competing I went to retrieve my prosthetics and there was a group of young children trying to figure out where these legs came from. and why were they there, ”he recalled.
Then she added: “That day, at 9 years old, I had the option to choose how I was going to handle being in a bathing suit with a different body than everyone else. I got to my legs going through the rest of the competitors, I smiled at those guys and grabbed my legs. I chose to see the fun of the scene of those dumbfounded 11-year-olds. Me carrera swimming could have ended that day, but I understood that we are all different. I have no legs and this could have taken me away from my goals. Instead, I had to learn not only to accept myself for who I am, but to embrace it! and we must all achieve it ”, he declared.
For these two weeks of competition, Shepherd did not challenge himself, even though comes from achieving two silver medals and another bronze in the Parapan American Games. “My goals here are to be myself and have fun. I am not going to come with high expectations of myself, because if you put them on you will always be disappointed ”.
The athlete, who he also practices crossfit, reflect on life as if it were an adult. In a world where Instagram focuses the attention of most young people looking to upload the perfect photo to the profile, Shepherd sends a resounding message: “When I worked as a model for Tommy Hilfiger, I realized that the perfect body does not exist; only a handful of people have that type of body and that lifestyle ”.
Shepherd takes advantage of each interview to try to raise awareness among his generation: “You cannot control life, you can only control how you respond to things. If you look around, we all have little bumps and bruises and we are all imperfect. I love my chance to show that anyone can literally do whatever they want. “