LatinaLista — Ileana Rodriguez is an Olympic athlete swimmer. She is also wheelchair-bound. Rodriguez participated in the London Paralympics in 2012.
She came in 7th place in the 100m breaststroke but for all her athletic success, this 100-pound Cuban-born American can’t get people to look past her wheelchair and see the person/athlete/student/woman who she is today.
It was that pre-occupation of strangers to look at her wheelchair first and her second that served as the foundation of an inspirational talk Rodriguez delivered at a TEDx conference at Florida International University in the fall of 2012.
Challenging her audience with the question: “What do you see?”, Rodriguez shared her journey on becoming a top Paralympic athlete and encouraged everyone to see beyond the devices.