Penn Stater Emily Frederick Returns From Paralympics For Freshman Year
On August 24, just days after moving in to start her freshman year of college, Emily Frederick got a welcome call from the United States Paralympic Committee. She would be competing in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
“I found out four days before I was supposed to leave,” Frederick said. “I flew out to Houston the Sunday after I found out. And then we started out at the training camp for the first week. Then once we got to Rio we trained a little bit more, and then it was time to compete.”
United States Paralympic trials finished up in early July, but Frederick was not initially selected to the team heading down to Rio. Following a ban imposed on Russian athletes for the 2016 games because of a state-sponsored doping regimen, Frederick was added to the field for the shot put F40 classification.
In Rio, she finished ninth with a throw of 15.8 feet. The competition was special for many reasons, but one very particular reason stands out. Frederick, who has dwarfism, was competing against other athletes in her classification for the first time.
“It was nice to compete with other people like me,” Frederick said. “There are no other dwarfs in the U.S. that compete in the Paralympics in shot put, so it’s just been me.”
Even with the stress of starting college and getting late notice that she would be competing, the 2016 Paralympics was definitely a worth while experience for Frederick. “It was life changing,” Frederick said. “It was a little bit stressful, but it was worth it.”
Following competition on Sunday, Frederick returned to Happy Valley to resume her freshman year studying kinesiology. She is also returning to Penn State Ability Athletics — Penn State’s program founded in 1999 for adaptive sports — where she will be competing for longtime Track coach Teri Jordan who retired to focus on the Ability Athletics program.
Frederick hails from Gadsden, Alabama. She is excited to compete for Ability Athletics, which was one of the major reasons she came to Penn State. Ability Athletics is one of the better collegiate adaptive sports programs according to Frederick. “I think [Penn State Ability Athletics] stacks up pretty well,” Frederick said. “It is the only adaptive sports program that allows ambulatory athletes to throw in the country.”
She feels ready to begin her next four years — wherever they may take her. “The plan is to train for the next four years,” Frederick said. “At least get my major in kinesiology and then see where it goes from there.”
Whether life takes her to another Paralympics or back home, where she hopes to become a coach and an advocate for ambulatory athletics, Frederick has quite a future ahead of her.
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