Terezinha Guilhermina’s vision loss is slowly advancing. The Brazilian sprinter was born with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease that causes gradual vision impairment. When she first thought about pursuing her dream of competitive running some 20 years ago, her vision was already diminishing, but it was the lack of money — a problem with which many Brazilians are familiar — that caused her the most trouble.
In order to compete in athletic events, proper running shoes were necessary, a luxury that from the 1990s to the early 2000s Guilhermina couldn’t afford. She started swimming — it wasn’t her first choice, but, she reasoned, she already had a bathing suit. It was Guilhermina’s sister who, for the good of Brazilian sports and the history of the Paralympics, was able to find shoes for the fleet-footed sprinter.
Heading into this summer’s games, Guilhermina is without a doubt one of the biggest favorites to capture the hearts and minds of a beleaguered Brazilian public. After breaking the world record for the 100-meter race on her way to earning two gold medals in the 2012 London Paralympics, Guilhermina entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest blind woman in the world… see more