SHAHEEN: VICTORIA ARLEN INSPIRES US ALL
Shaheen honors Exeter High School student for world-record performance in 2012 London Paralympic GamesJanuary 25, 2013
(Exeter, N.H.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) commended Paralympic athlete Victoria Arlen for her dedication, hard work and spirit of character during a ceremony this morning at Exeter High School honoring Victoria for her accomplishments at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Shaheen presented Victoria and her family with a copy of the Congressional Record Statement titled “A Tribute to Victoria Arlen” that Shaheen submitted to recognize Victoria’s achievements.
An 18 year-old senior at Exeter High School, Victoria was diagnosed with transverse myelitis seven years ago, which resulted in paralysis from the waist down. After resuming competitive swimming at the age of 16, Victoria qualified for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and set a world record and won a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle. She also earned silver medals in three other events.
“Victoria, New Hampshire is so proud of your achievements and fortunate to have such a wonderful role model to inspire us all,” Shaheen said. “Your resolve in the face of adversity and perseverance to not let your obstacles stand in the way of your goals sets an example we can all learn from. I am confident that your success at the 2012 Paralympic Games is one accomplishment in what is certain to be a lifetime of impressive feats.”
The full text of the Shaheen’s Congressional Record Statement is below:
Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I rise today to recognize and honor the success of Victoria Arlen of Exeter, NH. This summer, Victoria represented the United States in a number of swimming events at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
Victoria Arlen is an 18-year-old young woman who seven years ago was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder that causes inflammation of a section of the spinal cord. Victoria’s resulting paralysis from the waist down has not damaged her determination or her competitive spirit, and her achievements this year have been truly remarkable.
Victoria was a very active child prior to her diagnosis, and was involved in dancing, swimming and playing field hockey, lacrosse and soccer. For more than two years, Victoria lived in a coma and only began swimming competitively again at the age of 16, and it came as no surprise to Victoria’s family when the honors student earned a place on the U.S. Paralympic Team. In London, she competed in the 100-meter, 50-meter, 400-meter and 4x100-meter relay freestyle events and the 100-meter breaststroke event. Victoria set a world record and won a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle, in her final competition, and earned silver medals in three of her other races.
Victoria’s determination in the face of adversity and ability to accomplish her goals demonstrate her strength of spirit and her quality of character. Citizens of New Hampshire are incredibly proud of her achievements; she is a role model and an inspiration. I am confident that her success at the 2012 Paralympic Games is one great accomplishment in what is certain to be a lifetime of impressive feats.
Since 1960, the Paralympic Games have provided athletes who have certain physical disabilities the chance to compete in a broad range of sports and athletic events on the international level, providing them with an opportunity similar to that of their able-bodied counterparts. Victoria’s inspiring performance throughout the 2012 Paralympic Games should serve as a reminder of the hard work and dedication required to succeed.
I applaud and congratulate Victoria for her devotion and determination. I also commend her family, including her parents, Jacqueline and Larry, and her three brothers, Cameron, LJ and William, for their role in her success. I know that her victories give her family, her friends, the Exeter community and the State of New Hampshire great pride.
I rise today to recognize Victoria Arlen for her accomplishments and her victory in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and I commend her dedication, maturity and hard work. She is truly an inspiring young woman.
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