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Paralympic Cyclist gets help from teammate

Paralympic Cyclist gets help from teammate

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - While the Olympic Games are in full swing in Rio de Janeiro, the Paralympic Athletes are busy getting their last training sessions in before they compete next month.

Team USA hit Old Pueblo Road in Fountain for timed trials on Sunday, because it is similar to the terrain they will race on in Rio.

But Sunday's trial was especially important for cyclist Billy Lister because he was trying the newest version of an arm cast.

Lister can no longer use his left arm after a stroke left him partially paralyzed when he was 17. So a cast, molded to the shape of his arm, sits above his left handlebar to hold his arm in place while he races. It also has a extra padding on the end to hit a pressure point in his rest that allows his left hand to relax.

He said it's been a game-changer.

"With this arm perch, it puts my arm in a secure position and doesn't allow it to move around," Lister said. "It takes the uncontrollable nature of my arm out of the equation and allows me to ride more comfortably and a lot faster."

This piece of technology was made right here in Colorado, printed by a 3D printer at Titan Robotics in Colorado Springs. 

The cast hasn't just helped Lister improve his time, it's also a symbol of true team spirit.

That's because it was made by a Team USA teammate, two-time gold medalist Allison Jones.

Jones said she loves using her engineering skills to make things for people, and was ecstatic when Lister said "yes" to an arm cast.

"It was great to work with Billy because he was so willing to see what it could do, and it's been awesome to see his evolution with the use of the cast," Jones said. "I hope it shows other people how this could help."

Jones said she would love to design very inexpensive prosthetics to help people in need.

"The community has been so great to Titan Robotics in helping the company start out, so we would love to give back," she said. "Hopefully that means we will be able to help athletes or people in need get inexpensive prosthetics using our 3D printers."

Lister said he hopes others see his cast as a message of inspiration and teamwork.

"Anything is possible," he said. "Just because you can't do something in the traditional manner doesn't mean you can't do it at all. Just taking yourself and thinking outside the box and creating a team around you -- that's what Allison and Titan Robotics were able to produce. You can't do it alone."

Team USA heads to Rio next month.


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