“When I’m competing, it’s just me and the bar. The bar doesn’t judge you and there’s no one else to blame. You either have a good lift or you don’t.”
Blaze Tres Foster is a USA Para Powerlifting (USAPP) athlete. Originally from Monroeville, Pennsylvania, he was born with a genetic disorder for bone growth called Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, and while he’s only been involved in para powerlifting since 2017, staying physically fit has always been a part of his life.
“I got into fitness when I was 11 years old,” he said. “My older brother was an amazing swimmer growing up, so I started doing workouts with him … sit ups, push-ups and other exercises, but I never thought I’d get to the national level of Para Powerlifting. It’s been a great ride so far.”
While COVID-19 has cancelled recent events and competitions around the world, Blaze has taken the opportunity to hone in on training, preparing himself for 2021. It’s also given him a chance to reflect on how sports have benefited his life as well as his passion for helping grow awareness of USAPP.
That is exactly what Blaze will be speaking about at the 2020 Adapted Sport Leadership & Business Symposium (LABS 2020) on Oct.15. The one-day virtual conference is designed to elevate the adapted sport industry through thought, leadership and collaboration.
“When you are in a wheelchair, an amputee or have dwarfism, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel alone in your community,” he said. “I’d like to encourage kids with a physical disability to get and stay active. When you have something like an event or competition to look forward to, to train for and keep you busy, it can lead to many things … it may not be a gold medal, but it may be relief from depression and anxiety or an opportunity to build self-confidence.”
Blaze said if he only knew at age 11 or 12 what he knows now; nevertheless, he hopes to inspire kids with disabilities to exercise and be physically active. In parasports, he says, there’s an equal playing field.
“I’ve heard wheelchair athletes say that they feel the most powerful when they are out of their chair and on the bench,” he said. “Last year, I learned just how incredibly strong these athletes are in the sport of Para Powerlifting and hope to get more desired athletes around the country involved in this great sport.”
To hear Blaze speak at LABS 2020 on Oct. 15, register for free here.