Athlete-doctor goes for gold
August 14, 1996
Web posted at: 7:00 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent Jeff Levine
BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) -- Softball player and orthopedic
surgeon Dot Richardson is not the only doctor-athlete to
compete in Atlanta this summer. Pediatric resident Diane
Straub takes to the pool for 3-5 miles a day, training for
this summer's Paralympic Games.
Richardson delayed her orthopedic surgery residency for a
year -- long enough to win a gold medal at the recently
completed Olympic Games in Atlanta.
In Baltimore, Straub, who lost her right leg in an automobile
accident eight years ago, is a resident at Johns Hopkins
And she's already won one gold medal -- the 100-meter
freestyle swimming relay in Barcelona in 1993 -- setting a
world record in the process.
Straub, a multi-sport athlete and scholar before the accident
that cost her leg, says the tragedy motivated her to push
"I got home and all of a sudden it was real," she says. "At
that point, you're faced with it. It's time to go on with the
rest of your life."
At Barcelona, Straub was up against the world's finest
disabled athletes, and took her place alongside them.
"Oh, it was incredible," she remembers. "The Paralympic motto
is 'triumph of the human spirit.' They live that every day in
Straub and coach practice at the pool (842K QuickTime movie)
Now at age 28, Straub says she is ready for the 1996
Paralympics. U.S. Swim Team coach Murray Stephens agrees.
"She has great capacity to just come in and jump in and do
the training," Stephens says. "That's very comparable to any
of our athletes."
Straub's training routine includes swimming three to five
miles a day. She hopes to win a medal again in Atlanta, but
more to her effort than just going for the gold.
She says it was a special honor to pass the Paralympic torch
to President Clinton during a White House ceremony earlier
this month. And she sees her future working with those who
have a different kind of disability -- one of economics and
"I think that inner-city kids tend to be children who don't
have opportunities, and I think that we need to change that
and allow them to reach their potential," she says.
Straub will put forth her athletic best in Atlanta in the
coming days, but when
her competitive days are over, she'll still have many more
laps to go.
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