August 8, 2020
In Episode 17 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, host Greg Lindberg is joined by Air Force veteran, author, and yoga enthusiast Marty Klein of Blind Yoga. Klein discussed:
- His pre-blindness childhood and how he was into playing many sports as a boy
- Serving in the U.S. Air Force before having to leave the military due to his visual impairment
- His accomplishments in billiards
- The work he has done in the counseling field spanning 45 years
- How he got interested in yoga
- What inspired him to create the Blind Yoga programs
- His audio-described yoga programs and how they are designed for blind individuals, as well as how they teach a visually impaired person how to advocate for themselves if they are in a yoga class with mainly sighted participants
- The physical and mental benefits of doing yoga for anyone, but especially for people with disabilities or other ongoing challenges
- The books he has written on a variety of blindness topics
- A documentary film he wrote and directed on wounded and disabled military veterans transitioning back into civilian life and the epidemic of veteran suicide
Visit www.blindyoga.net to learn more about and purchase Klein’s Blind Yoga audio yoga programs.
Check out Klein’s six-minute yoga flow with narration at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV2KxhM0Dm8.
Check out the Blind Yoga Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BlindYogaMartyKlein/.
Watch his film, Why Can’t We Serve, with captions and audio description by visiting the following link and using the following password: https://vimeo.com/284206434 and the password is marty2. Learn more about the film at www.whycantweserve.com.
His memoir, Blindsighted: One Man’s Journey from Sight to Insight, is available on BARD. His books can also be found on Amazon.
July 25, 2020
In Episode 16 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we caught up with Lex Gillette, one of the top blind track and field athletes in the world and multiple-time beep baseball champion. Gillette discussed:
- How he suddenly lost his vision at age eight
- Attending mainstream schools and then East Carolina University for college
- His successful beep baseball career playing with the West Coast Dawgs
- How he got into track and field
- What adaptations a blind long jumper uses to succeed in this sport and the relationship with his track and field guide
- What life is like at the Paralympic Games both while competing and in the Olympic Village
- Tandem biking with the Blind Stokers Club
- One blind sport he’d really like to try but never has
- How he has dealt with the Paralympic Games being postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- His new book, FLY: Find Your Own Wings and Soar Above Life’s Challenges
- How he made a connection with Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey
- His unique Air Jordan video series on Twitter in which he has raised awareness about how a blind person handles daily tasks
Check out his website where you can also purchase his book at http://www.lexgillette.com.
Follow him on Facebook at
July 11, 2020
In Episode 15 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, world champion blind sailor Lucy Hodges MBE joined us to discuss the exhilarating sport of blind sailing. She talked about:
- Her visual impairment
- Other sports she enjoyed prior to getting into sailing as a teenager
- How her dad got her into sailing
- The adaptations of sailing without sight
- The different vision classifications of blind sailors
- Some of the events she has competed in and the titles she has won in blind sailing
- The nonprofit, Blind Sailing UK, in which she is involved
- Advice for blind and low vision individuals who are interested in getting into sailing
Learn more about Blind Sailing UK at http://gbrblindsailing.co.uk. Follow Blind Sailing UK on Facebook at http://facebook.com/blindsailinguk and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/blindsailinggbr.
Follow Lucy Hodges MBE on Facebook at http://facebook.com/LucyHodgesMBE and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lucyloosailing.
To learn more about blind sailing resources around the world, check out the Blind Sailing International website at http://www.blindsailinginternational.com.
June 27, 2020
In Episode 14 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we visit with Bryce Weiler, an ardent disability advocate, sports commentator, and all-around talented young man. Wiler talked about:
- His visual impairment
- How he was mainstreamed in public schools before enrolling in the Indiana School for the Blind where he graduated from high school in 2010
- His college experience attending the University of Evansville and Western Illinois University
- How he got into sports broadcasting in college doing color commentary for radio broadcasts of University of Evansville athletic events
- How he has worked with various play-by-play announcers and has adapted to their styles to be an effective color commentator
- How he prepares for a game broadcast and how many hours are involved in this process
- How and why he co-founded The Beautiful Lives Project
- Types of unique sporting events his nonprofit has put on for kids and adults with disabilities
- His work to make stadiums and arenas more accessible to fans with disabilities
- His role as the disability consultant for the Baltimore Orioles and how he got the team to wear Braille jerseys during a regular season game in 2018
Learn more about The Beautiful Lives Project at http://www.beautifullives.org. Follow Weiler on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bryceweiler.
Check out a sample of his color commentary of a University of Evansville soccer match at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2hlMPoWHnY
June 13, 2020
In Episode 13 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, Katie Atkinson and Noah Beckman of Ohio Blind Soccer join the conversation to talk about:
- Their backgrounds and how each got involved in blind sports
- Atkinson’s educational and professional background in working with blind individuals
- Beckman’s childhood and sports he played growing up being visually impaired
- Why Atkinson started Ohio Blind Soccer and her role as a coach
- Beckman’s introduction to blind soccer and what he enjoys most about playing this adapted sport
- The rules of blind soccer, a.k.a. five-aside soccer or blind football
- The benefits of playing blind soccer and other sports for blind and visually impaired individuals
Learn more about Ohio Blind Soccer at https://ohioblindsoccer.weebly.com/. Follow Ohio Blind Soccer on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ohioblindsoccer and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/blindohio.
Check out some of Katie Atkinson’s blind soccer training videos on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFvZ-GuHU1A2vdzTCy2xkmw?view_as=subscriber
May 30, 2020
In this episode of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, Stephen Guerra of the National Beep Baseball Association (NBBA) joined the conversation to discuss:
- His visual impairment
- His childhood and early years
- His college years attending and graduating from Hofstra University
- His career working in assistive technology and running his own business
- How he was first introduced to blind sports, including goal ball and beep baseball
- How he got involved in the National Beep Baseball Association (NBBA)
- The history of beep baseball and the movers and shakers within the NBBA
- The international reach of beep baseball and specifically how the Austin Blackhawks have led this effort
- What blind baseball is and how this sport differs from beep baseball
- What it would take to get beep baseball into the Paralympic Games
Learn more about the National Beep Baseball Association (NBBA) at www.nbba.org.
May 16, 2020
In Episode 11 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, hear Part 2 of our interview with Michelle Jorgensen, a blind MMA and judo competitor who has won 15 medals. Jorgensen discussed:
- What it was like competing in the 2020 IBSA Pan American Championships in judo in Montreal back in January
- Who she faced in the competition and the dramatic three-round match she had with this competitor from Uruguay
- The calm attitude she had before the competition and how it helped her
- The ultimate outcome of the competition
- The unique dynamics of an international competition with so many languages and cultures coming together in one place
- How blind and visually impaired athletes are classified in the Paralympics
- The accepting and welcoming nature of the MMA and judo communities
- Advice for blind and visually impaired individuals on what first step they can take to get involved in MMA or judo
In case you missed it, listen to Episode 10 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast to hear Part 1 of our interview with Michelle Jorgensen. You can follow her on Instagram at @embracedchaos93.
May 9, 2020
In Episode 10 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we feature Part 1 of Greg Lindberg’s interview with mixed martial arts competitor Michelle Jorgensen. She discussed:
- Her eye condition
- The challenges of finding sports to play as a visually impaired child
- Her introduction to mixed martial arts (MMA) in 2017 after taking a self-defense class
- How she got into judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and Muay Thai kickboxing
- Unique strategies she uses as a blind MMA competitor
- How she started working with Kathy Hubble, a highly accomplished Canadian National Judo champion and coach
Listen to Episode 11 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast to hear Part 2 of our interview with Michelle Jorgensen. You can follow her on Instagram at @embracedchaos93.
April 26, 2020
In Episode 9 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, Dave White and Jaime Gonzalez of the Blind Stokers Club talk with host Greg Lindberg about:
- How the club started from a small event in 2005
- The roles of the sighted captain and blind stoker when riding together on a tandem bike
- The social benefits and enjoyment of tandem cycling
- The club’s annual Cycling For Sight event
- Other events the club has hosted
- Some unique virtual rides the club has done in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
- How interested riders can connect with a potential tandem partner, whether you are sighted or visually impaired, around the U.S.
Learn more about the Blind Stokers Club in San Diego, CA at www.blindstokersclub.org.
April 14, 2020
In Episode 8 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, Greg Lindberg talks to Pam McGonigle, a Paralympic gold medalist and currently the director of development at the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA). She discusses:
- - Her family and guide dog, Maida, who actually runs with her and was trained through the Running Guides Program at Guiding Eyes for the Blind
- Her role with USABA
- Competing in four Paralympic Games in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 and winning medals in track and field
- A variety of sports for the blind and visually impaired
- Specific events and opportunities offered by USABA
Learn more about the United States Association of Blind Athletes at www.usaba.org.