Our Olympic great-nephew Jonathan Wayans — who’s fine with a wink or two as a comedian or an actor — is the president of Team IPC Athletics, which comprises athletes that use a wheelchair or a bipedal frame. (Pssst: That includes both curlers and rowers!)
The Paralympics are heating up in Rio, and Jonathan and I are stationed outside the CNN headquarters for another day of coverage. The arrival of the archers, kayakers and others is a bit like arriving at the Magic Kingdom to find Mickey in a wheelchair and Evie Schlanger skating on a cross-country course.
We hear an announcement for the female judo class: “Ladies who are wearing large mouth guards from our female archers. Well done!”
Next we hear “Say ahh!,” and the crowd goes nuts. I realize this is supposed to sound like cheering — but sometimes the chaperones get sort of emotional when they announce a contestant is a woman.
In the meantime, Jonathan is keeping things moving by cracking joke after joke. They are fun and funky.
Anyway, with Jonathan’s daughter this past summer, I took the plunge and transitioned to wheelchair racing. Not only did it feel a little awkward at first, but I’m an athlete and never thought much about such things.
At these games, however, I’m getting that fun exercise and love it and can’t wait to get back out on the water in 2020! I’m just glad that somebody raised me.
Next we’re off to the cable-access velodrome to catch a sight nobody’s ever going to see in this country: Two men on the same bike, one fast and one slow.
We’re on the way to a training session, and Jonathan’s gone for a bologna sandwich. This is my job, after all. He already has a good job as a stand-up comedian and actor and lives in LA, so I need all the income I can get!
Sorry, Jon, but this coffee is my money well spent.