French para-cyclist hopes for more acceptance in sport

STORY: (Marie Patouillet, Cyclist)

"I would really like to send the message that anybody can do sport, can even dream of high-level sport. And on top of that, I also want to show that we can change things a little."

Marie Patouillet looks set to take part in the Paris 2024 Paralympics

after claiming the para-cycling road race world title in 2022

The 35-year-old was forced to give up running due to a foot malformation in her late 20s

and turned to para-cycling as a new means to perform

"Track cycling is the way I've found to continue feeling the way I felt when I could still run. So, it's a way for me to adapt to my disability while continuing to enjoy the sensations I had when I was able to run. It's true that the feeling of speed for me is exhilarating."

The gay rights activist also hopes to use sport

to fight discrimination on any basis, be it gender, sexual orientation or disability

"Telling an athlete that if they didn't want to do a sexist sport, they had to a girls' sport, in 2021, at the Paralympic Games, I find that this sums up very well the misogynistic behavior that still exists among high-level sports staff."

"We can fight sexism, we can fight misogyny, we can highlight inclusion and make it even broader and more generous. That’s the message I want to get across."