Blind Pole Vaulter Wins Medal At State Championships

by Adam Smith
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Charlotte Brown, a high school pole vaulter from Texas, placed third in the state championships this past weekend. Brown was born with normal vision but developed cataracts when she was only 16 weeks old. She has undergone several operations, and her vision stabilized, until she was about 11. By 2013, Brown still had “pinhole vision” but couldn’t distinguish shape from shadow. Brown is now legally blind with a vision described as a “jigsaw puzzle” that mixes shades of light and dark.

Brown was interviews by ESPN after her win and the young woman dropped some inspirational nuggets on people struggling with disabilities. “I finally did it,” Brown said. “If I could send a message to anybody, it’s not about pole vaulting and it’s not about track. It’s about finding something that makes you happy despite whatever obstacles are in your way. It took me three years to get on the podium, and I finally did it. This story … really wasn’t about me. It was about everybody that struggles with something.” I’m glad Brown can’t see me tearing up a little. A lot. Fine, I’m blubbering.

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