Salt Lake City, UT - Pete, a blind and mulitple amputee ski jumper
from New York City, has faced many obstacles in his road to the Salt
Lake winter games. Given a special exemption by the US Olympic Committee
because of his residency in the desolated center of patriotism, Pete
is the first US ski jumper without arms, legs, or the ability to
Among the obstacles he's faced none has been more poignant then
an inner ear infection which makes ski jumping a horrifically painful
experience. "People ask me why I do this since it's so painful.
I tell them that I do it for America. I do it for the people that
lost their lives at the twin towers. I do it because NBC needed a
really touching story."
isn't the only one soaring from the ski-jump for the USA; his blind,
three-legged seeing-eye dog Corsair is always by his side. "You may think
that a dog would be frightened at the prospects a dizzying descent," said
Pete, "but not Corsair who has a heart of gold, nerves of steel, and a
lower intestine of PVC pipe."
However, it was that heart of gold that almost kept Pete and Corsair
out of these games. In a pre-Olympic screening, Corsair tested positive
for blood doping. A furious Pete argued that it must be from the
transfusions Corsair has been getting for his blood disorder that
caused the positive result. After an intervention by his veterinarian
and a large stack of untraceable, small denomination bills from NBC
parent GE, Pete and Corsair were finally ready for the slopes.
Pete is not expected to medal, but that doesn't dampen the spirit
of this brain-tumored harelip or his fun-loving, epileptic pooch.
Pete may not smile much, but that's only due to the nerve damage
and the barbiturates. This proud American is flying for us all.
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