Meet Viola Altmann - Paralympic Torch Bearer
In May 2012, the IPC announced that it had been allocated a limited number of slots for the 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay for August 28 and 29th. Four slots would be reserved for Games Officials of outstanding merit (two male, two female) who were committed to advancing the Paralympic Movement.
When the IWRF was invited to nominate an official from wheelchair rugby for this great honor, the name of IWRF Classifier Viola Altmann was submitted.
Viola has been a Wheelchair Rugby classifier for over fifteen years, and has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help develop the IWRF's classification system. She's been a leader in research and in developing objective, science and research-based classification criteria to ensure that athletes are fairly and consistently evaluated. She has also trained numerous new classifiers in the sport.
"The challenge for me as a classifier is to provide and apply the framework of the classification system that reduces the effect of impairment on the outcome of the competition to a minimum. So just like in able bodied sport, the athlete or team that trained and prepared best - and is most talented will win, and not simply the one that happens to be the least impaired."
Earlier this month Altmann was contacted by LOCOG and told that she had been selected as a torch bearer for the Paralympic Torch Relay. When asked what her reaction was she stated, "I wasn't even aware that my name had been submitted, so this came as a real surprise!"
Viola went on to say "being invited to carry the torch feels like a huge reward, and shows big support from everyone involved in wheelchair rugby. With carrying the torch I would like to express my thanks to all athletes who have volunteered for the research. Without them, making improvements to the classification system would have never been possible."
Viola became involved in wheelchair rugby by coincidence, and says that what attracts her to Paralympic sport is the fact that it is just as exciting and competitive (or even better in the case of wheelchair rugby) as any other sport.
Viola will carry the torch on August 29th starting on Kilburn Park Road from International Paralympic Committee - Team 9 near Carlton Vale B413, and finish on Brent (a) (London Borough) near Carlton Hill. Her estimated start time is 08:13AM and the finish time is estimated at 08:23AM. Just a few days after carrying the Paralympic torch Altman will check into the Paralympic Village to begin her work as a wheelchair rugby classifier during the Games.
To learn more about the Paralympic Torch Relay click here.