The Paralympics were a spectacular event to witness in Sydney, Australia. The events lasted from October 18 thru the 29th. U.S. athletes made up the second largest team at these events (second only to the host nation of Australia).
Joshua K. Bartel, table tennis athlete and elk velvet advocate, received a bronze medal after competing in the doubles Category 6-7 event. Norman Bass, retired professional football and baseball player, is Joshua's teammate. "It was great to get to watch Josh play. He and Norman showed excellent sportsmanship during their games, as did all the other countries," says Rachel Bartel, sister-in-law to Joshua.
There were 40 countries involved in the table tennis event. Among the countries Joshua played were Nederland, France, Germany, and Sweden. Joshua's team events lasted for two days. The medal ceremony was held the same night as the final matches were played in the team event.
Three days following the team matches, Joshua began his single round robins. Although Joshua had some strong matches, he did not medal in singles. When asked about this he replied, "I have never played in front of 17,500 screaming fans before. What an experience! The added pressure of the press and TV cameras made it hard to get into my game. Not to make excuses, but there was a lot of added pressure."
When asked how Joshua felt about participating in the Paralympics he replied, "The 2000 Paralympics was probably the most humbling experience of my life. I can't tell you how it feels to see what some of the athletes have overcome to reach the Paralympic level. I feel fortunate."
Joshua has been a strong advocate of elk velvet since 1991 when he started taking it for his Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Joshua is a part owner of an elk ranch in Kansas and preaches the gospel of velvet to anyone who will listen. Joshua is also one of the webmasters of wapiti.net.
Congratulations to Joshua for his bronze medal and for being a part of Paralympic Games 2000.