On Friday, Idahoan Marianna “Muffy” Davis was inducted into the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame.
I had the opportunity to talk with Davis recently for a program I’m producing for Outdoor Idaho on adaptive sports. She told me she’s overwhelmed to have been selected for the Hall of Fame, and particularly touched that she will be inducted with one of her mentors, the late Gretchen Fraser. Fraser, who lived in Sun Valley, was the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in skiing.
“It’s a huge, immense honor,” Davis told me. “I get speechless. I don’t even know what to say.”
When she was only in elementary school, Muffy, who grew up on the ski slopes of Sun Valley, had already set her sights on competing in the Olympics. She was well on her way into those ranks when in 1989, during a training run, she had a devastating crash that paralyzed her from the chest down. Davis was only 16.
After initially giving up the sport, Davis realized she missed skiing too much, and refocused her goals on reaching the Paralympics. She would go on to win seven Paralympic medals, including three gold medals in hand cycling during the 2012 Paralympics. She also became a state lawmaker, and is now a Blaine County Commissioner.
Davis, who also sits on the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Board of Directors, said she’s enthusiastic about the growth in opportunities for disabled athletes in Idaho.
“We have more people with disabilities at the elite level — Paralympians — moving to the state,” said Davis. “But also, more people coming out wanting to try, and not realizing it was even possible.”
“I’m so thrilled for this next generation of athletes here in Idaho,” Davis told me. “I’ve always said, “What do you want to do? There’s someone out there willing to help you do it. And your disability does not have to be a limiting factor.””
Watch for the Outdoor Idaho program in September!