Yuba City native Kym Crosby is gearing up for her second stint at the Paralympic Games starting Tuesday in Tokyo.
Crosby, a River Valley High School 2011 alumna who went on to run at California State University, Chico, where she excelled in track and field, will compete in the 100- and 400-meters in Tokyo. Nicknamed “The Flash” from her days at RV, Crosby is the reigning bronze medalist at the Rio Paralympics.
“I am so grateful for another opportunity to represent my country while competing for the gold,” Crosby said. “I’ve put so much work into making this team, I don’t want to let myself or anyone else down.”
Crosby still has a lot of fans in Yuba City, including her parents Paul and Pauline, as well as many of her coaches from her days sporting the Falcon green.
Peggy Fullmer, who coached Crosby for three years at RV, said her distance running in cross country really aided her track career.
Distance running, Fullmer said, isn’t easy for someone like Crosby, who is legally blind with 20/400 vision.
Fullmer said there were times at an RV cross country meet where Crosby would get separated and find herself a bit disorientated.
Fullmer said Crosby continued distance running at Chico State, where she picked up a guide dog.
Crosby and her dog made it all the way to Tokyo, Fullmer said.
Crosby was also born with albinism, which leaves her without pigment in her skin, hair or eyes.
She explained what it was like growing up with those impairments.
“I tried to hide my visual impairment for so long … Very few people on my high school team knew I couldn’t see well but it wasn’t until I got my first white cane as a senior in (high school) when everyone realized it,” Crosby said. “I finally felt like myself and didn’t let anything get in the way of that.”
Crosby is classified as a T13 athlete, which is without guide runners and an extra lane to run in. Crosby said T12 athletes have the option to run with a guide and are permitted to use two lanes.
Crosby said the T11 class is the most impaired and runs with a blindfold on, are allowed two lanes and are accompanied by a guide runner.
She said classes are implemented to make it an even playing field at the games.
Crosby looks at the T13 class as a regular meet.
“It’s like regular track and field for us except we are competing against athletes with around the same visual acuity as us,” she said.
At RV, Crosby was nicknamed “The Flash” due to her track prowess – a name that has stuck up to this point on the brink of competing for her first Paralympic Gold Medal.
“I’ve been a big Flash fan ever since, with T-shirts, shoes and other things The Flash related,” Crosby said.
The 100-meter prelims and final are tentatively scheduled for Aug. 31. The 400-meter prelims are tentatively set for Sept. 2 with the finals scheduled for Sept. 4.
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