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10517-Jessica Cooper Lewis photo

Jessica Cooper Lewis

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
T53

Further personal information

Residence
Mississauga, ON, CAN
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
Higher education
Physiotherapy, Sport and Recreation Studies - Brock University: Canada

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She was introduced to wheelchair racing at age 13 by Canadian coach Ken Thom in Bermuda. She began training in 2010.
Why this sport?
"I have always loved different sports. We had an expo in Bermuda which involved many different sports. I considered team sports, but as there are not many people with a disability playing sports in Bermuda, I felt I had to go for an individual sport. When I was introduced to wheelchair racing in 2006 I instantly fell in love with it."
Club / Team
Cruisers Sports: Brampton, ON, CAN
Name of coach
Curtis Thom [personal], CAN

International debut

Year
2011
Competing for
Bermuda
Tournament
Parapan American Games
Location
Guadalajara, MEX

General interest

Hobbies
Reading, sewing, knitting, shopping. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the T53 100m at the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto, ON, Canada, and bronze in the T53 100m at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019, 21 Aug 2021)
Most influential person in career
Canadian wheelchair racer Curtis Thom. (Athlete, 21 Aug 2021)
Hero / Idol
US wheelchair racer Anjali Forber-Pratt, Canadian wheelchair racer Curtis Thom. (Athlete, 13 Jul 2017, 21 Aug 2021)
Injuries
She bruised her ribs on the right side of her body after crashing during a training camp with the Canadian team in February 2018. (jessicalewisbda.com, 22 Apr 2018)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
"I never match my socks. I always wear mix-match crazy patterned socks." (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Desire, dream, vision." (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Awards and honours
She was named Female Athlete of the Year for 2019 at the Government of Bermuda's Annual Sports Awards. (Facebook profile, 10 Jul 2020; islandstats.com, 05 Jan 2021)

She was Bermuda's flag bearer at the opening ceremonies of the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (myinfo.rio2016.com, 06 Sep 2016; bernews.com, 10 Sep 2012; paralympic.org, 12 Nov 2011)
Milestones
In 2012 she became the first Bermudan Para athletics competitor to compete at the Paralympic Games. (bernews.com, 10 Sep 2012; SportsDeskOnline, 02 Sep 2012)
Famous relatives
Her mother Lorri served as Bermuda's chef de mission at the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto, ON, Canada. (paralympic.org, 06 Aug 2015)
Ambitions
To win a Paralympic medal. (Athlete, 21 Aug 2021)
Impairment
At birth she was diagnosed with diastematomyelia, which caused her spinal cord to split and resulted in paraplegia. She also has chronic back neuropathy, which causes constant discomfort in her back. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019; islandstats.com, 21 Aug 2012)
Other information
COACH TRIBUTE
She dedicated her medals at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, to her late coach Ken Thom, who died in a scuba diving accident in 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. She is coached by Ken's son Curtis. "It's been tough not having Ken with us as [the 2019 Parapan American Games] was the first big competition without him, but I'm doing all of this now in his honour. I'm so thankful to my coach Curtis Thom for getting me to this point. I could never explain just how grateful I am to him for stepping in after the loss of his dad and my previous coach Ken." (royalgazette.com, 30 Aug 2019; Buzz 505 YouTube channel, 11 Jan 2021)

GLOVE CHANGE
She attributed winning gold in the T53 400m at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, to changing the kind of gloves she wears for the 400m. "I have transitioned into using the hard gloves which have definitely helped me get stronger in the longer-distance events. I had the best start I have ever had in these gloves, so everything just came together for the race." (caribbeannationalweekly.com, 27 Aug 2019)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
In 2020 she was elected to serve as an athlete representative on the board of the Bermuda Paralympic Association. "I am really excited to be filling this role and am grateful for everything the board is doing to help keep Para sport alive and moving forward here in Bermuda." (islandstats.com, 05 Jan 2021)

Results

Unit Date Rank
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m T53 Final Round 2012-09-02 8
Women's 200 m T53 Final Round 2012-09-06 8
Women's 400 m T53 Final Round 2012-09-08 8
IPC Athletics World Championships (Lyon, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T53 Semifinal 2 2013-07-20 9
Women's 100 m T53 Semifinal 1 2013-07-24 7
Women's 100 m T53 Final 1 2013-07-25 8
Women's 400 m T53 Semifinal 2 2013-07-26 9
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T53 Heat 1 2015-10-22 3
Women's 200 m T53 Final 1 2015-10-22 4
Women's 100 m T53 Heat 1 2015-10-23 2
Women's 100 m T53 Final 1 2015-10-24 3
Women's 400 m T53 Heat 1 2015-10-25 9
Women's 800 m T53 Heat 2 2015-10-26 12
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m T53 Heat 2 2016-09-08 4
Women's 100 m T53 Final Round 2016-09-08 6
Women's 400 m T53 Heat 1 2016-09-10 6
Women's 800 m T53 Heat 2 2016-09-17 6
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T53 Final 1 2017-07-15 4
Women's 400 m T53 Heat 2 2017-07-18 8
Women's 400 m T53 Final 1 2017-07-19 7
Women's 800 m T53 Final 1 2017-07-23 9
Women's 100 m T53 Final 1 2017-07-23 5