by Jude Jacob Kayton July 01, 2019
NATALIE BIEULE - Mom, Paralympian and Motivational Speaker.
ABOUT ME:My name is Natalie, and I lost a leg at a very young age. I had dreams and aspirations of becoming a dancer. It took me a while to realize that God had other plans for me and I ended up “dancing” Discus at the 2016 Rio Olympics. I’m a mother to two amazing girls and my daughters are the fire that keeps me going.
I had an accident when I was 18. I’d just graduated high school, I lived in Miami, and I lost my leg. Basically, I had to deal with a whole new me. When I got my prosthetic leg, I was so excited to get back on my feet. But the first thing I was told was that there were a lot of things that I wouldn’t be able to do anymore. They told me I wouldn’t be able to dance the same way. My father was my dancing inspiration and dancing partner, and I decided to keep dancing. The accident happened in March. I had a fitting for a leg a month later and Father’s Day was in June. So, I practiced salsa on a basic peg leg, and I danced with my Dad on Father’s Day. In fact, he told me I was lighter on my feet!
That was the moment I decided no one will tell me I can’t. I found that the more I accomplished goals, the more I forgot that I was missing a leg.
When I had Ava I never wanted my daughter to look at me as someone missing a leg; I wanted her to look at me and see what I had accomplished. With this in mind, I got involved in Crossfit and competed against able-bodied women. I came in 12th. I was a teacher at the time and my insurance didn’t cover the prosthetics I needed to compete, so I did everything on a peg leg and ended up breaking prosthetic after prosthetic.
While competing, I metParalympian and 6-time World Champion winner April Holmes who told me I needed to get on the US team. I got in touch and was told they’d get me a coach for Discus. I had literally never thrown a discus in my life but, after 6 months of intense training, I made the nationals and threw an American record.
A week later, I found out was pregnant. I wasn’t sure what would happen next, but my coach believed in me and told me if I’d set a record in just 6 months of training I’d have no problem making team for world championships. I trained while pregnant and wore a baby monitor the whole time. Seven months after delivering Valentina via C-section, I came in third in the World Championships.
I have tunnel vision; I focus on what I want. One of the highlights of my career was getting a sponsorship from Kelloggs. I was the first ever Paralympianfeatured on a box for the 2016 Olympic summer games. The best part of all was that my girls are on the back of the box with me.
After that, I made the Track and Field team for Rio, which was quite an experience. My parents were in the audience; they are immigrants from Cuba and it was an incredible honor for them to see their daughter on the United States Olympic Team. The most amazing moment for me was finding my daughter, Ava, in the crowded auditorium. I was able to lean over the glass ledge and hug her. I felt completely blessed and fulfilled in that moment. I am so grateful for my amazing family; I would not have made the team without their love and support.
I live in Miami, and I throw discus and weight lift outside. For a long time, I felt like every sun screen I tried would get in my eyes and burn. I would wipe it off, but then I’d get sun damage. I was jumping from product to product. Then, I triedPROTECT ME. I would sweat and it did not run and burn my eyes! This is the biggest thing for any athlete.
I also put the SPF on my stump, which stopped it sweating so much. I just recently tried out FRÉ’s new body line. It is PHENOMENAL. My family is hooked too! I love that FRÉ is all about women’s empowerment. It’s awesome to have a skincare line for female athletes, nothing was specifically made for the sweatiness and blemishes. It’s so important to have skincare for women that are active.
I spend time talking about my journey at high schools. I love kids and I love speaking to kids. I am proud to motivate young athletes and youth groups not to give up on their dreams. I supportMiami Overtown Tornadoes Track and Field Club, a youth group in Miami for underprivileged kids who can’t afford to buy track shoes. I also supportGateway to Gold, an NGO that gets young children with disabilities involved in the Junior Olympics and Paralympics.
I’m grateful to be able to inspire kids to achieve their dreams and not take no for an answer. My mantra is one that is built out of my life experiences:
Follow Natalie and get TeamUSA updatesHERE.
Follow Natalie on Instagram@Natab12
Watch a video interview with NatalieHERE.
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