09-16-2008 10:39

Special Report:   Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games

Imagine being a player in wheelchair rugby, of one of the most aggressive sports in the world. Imagine playing for Canada, one of the best teams in the world in the sport. And imagine being Erika Schmutz, the only female on the team. Let's take a look at the Wheelchair Rugby semifinal of the Beijing Paralympics, where Canada took on Australia.

Erika Schmutz is only the third female to be named to the Canadian national wheelchair rugby team. She is also currently the only female playing at a national level worldwide.
Erika Schmutz is only the third female to be named to the 
Canadian national wheelchair rugby team. She is also currently
the only female playing at a national level worldwide.

Erika Schmutz is only the third female to be named to the Canadian national wheelchair rugby team. She is also currently the only female playing at a national level worldwide.

Weighing in at about 100 pounds, Schmutz may look small compared to her teammates. But she is so brave that, despite the spectacular smashes that happen on a regular basis, Schmutz remains fearless.

Wheelchair rugby is also known as murderball, and for good reason-it's a no-guts-no-glory kind of game played by warriors in battle chairs. But Schmutz, who injured both of her arms and her spine at a serious car accident in 2000, was brave enough try out the sport.

Erika Schmutz
Erika Schmutz

Speed, strength, quick-wittedness and courage are the traits needed for wheelchair rugby. Males usually dominate the sport, despite it being a mixed event. So how can a female be as competitive as any other athlete on the court?

Eight years after Schmutz's accident, she realized her dream to represent Canada at the Paralympics. Though she was not on the court for the semis on Monday night, her performances in the previous games here in Beijing have demonstrated her remarkable never-say-die spirit.


Editor:Liu Fang