Paralympics Rio 2016 – This journey is overAndre Barbieri
Dear PossAbilities readers, unfortunately I did not qualify for Rio. I waited until last minute, before I broke out the news, because I had hopes.
At first, I never even thought I would not qualify. Same with everyone around me, including Brazil’s National Federation. They even put me in the official album of collectible cards for the Rio Olympics. If you log onto the main page of Triathlon on the Paralympcis, whose picture is featured there?? -myself, showed there in the Test Event last year… They even made my race suit for Rio already.
It was really frustrating when I first learned I did not get in, I “fell off the horse” hard… When the cutoff happened, I was 11th in the World Ranking, and they only took 10 athletes. Then I thought I’d get the Host Country invitation because of my seeding. Nope! -my good friend Fernando Aranha got in thru the rankings (and I was super happy for him), on his category, thus eliminating the extra Host Country invitation.
Frustration took over for a couple days, after 4 years of hard work… Then, the World got news that the whole nation of Russia would be banned from the Paralympics. Again hope was born for myself, because it would open 3 spots in our sport, and with me being the 1st alternate, I would hopefully be invited!! -nope… The Country, or the IPC decided to leave those spots blank, to downgrade the size of the Rio Paralympics and reduce costs for Brazil, which had already lost a lot of money with the Olympics.
In the end, my disqualification at Worlds’ last year cost me the Paralympic birth, and I missed the biggest party ever in my own country -I missed the opportunity of becoming a Paralympian, and racing in front of the home crowd. As much as I raced this year to try and collect those points I missed last year, it ended up not being enough…
4 years of work, a lot of training, racing, travelling. I do not regret one bit, after all, like PossAbilities has taught me, and I agree, it’s all about the journey. I would do it all over again, even if I knew I would not qualify. Because I grew. As a human, as an athlete, as a person. I touched and inspired a lot of people, and was inspired by so many. I connected with so many great people and great athletes, and got good opportunities out of it all. I am so grateful and I know I am so blessed.
Thank You PossAbilities for being so great to me, always. Thank You Quest Diagnostics for supporting us when we needed. Thank You to all sponsors, and friends, and family, and wife, I love you all. God bless us all!