Japanese Paralympian Posed Nude for Calendar to Raise...Money | Bob's Blitz

Japanese Paralympian Posed Nude for Calendar to Raise...Money

Japanese paralympian Maya Nakanishi posed nude for calendar to pay for prosthetics. Banned by her US visa to hold a job here while training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California -- Maya's only recent cash came from a three month stint at McDonald's before she left Japan. And there was a good reason to leave Japan for the US:

“When I was in the U.S., I felt so funny because I was training with Olympic athletes. In Japan, you can’t do that,” she said. “I felt like I’m a real athlete. In Japan, with handicapped people, many people think we can’t do anything.”

She decided she wanted to change that.

McDonald’s was a paycheque, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Not only did Nakanishi have to pay for her training and living expenses in San Diego, she was planning out a 55-meet touring schedule for the coming year. Whatever prize money she won would be sucked away by hotel bills, airplane tickets and food.

She had to skip the 2011 world championships in New Zealand because she couldn’t afford to go. And all the training and competing was taking its toll on her prosthetic, which she uses as her plant leg when she jumps.

Ideally, she would have two spares. But at one million yen ($10,000) apiece, she didn’t have that kind of money.
So...what to do? What to do? -- Pose 'nude' for a calendar, sell 3000 copies (with 4000 more being printed), earn about five million yen ($50,000) and pay some bills.

Japan doesn't have the same amount of interest in the Paralympics that the states seem to. “It’s hard to get people to care,” she said. “They don’t want to think about us.

“All we want is to be included. We are athletes, we are not handicapped athletes,” she said. “That’s how we want people to think about it.”

Indeed.

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