A wheelchair sprinter and Paralympic champion 2012 claimed that Rio Paralympics will be the last. And it is something much more terrifying than the end of career – the Belgian sportsman considers euthanasia because living with a progressing incurable spinal disease is too hard for her.
“Everybody sees me laugh with my gold medal, but no one sees the dark side,” she told French newspaper Le Parisien. “I suffer greatly, sometimes sleeping only ten minutes a night – and still go for the gold.”
In July, the athlete recorded an online diary entry, in which she revealed the effects of her condition, which has rapidly worsened. “Fortunately I had a better night even though I had a moment of crisis for about 45 minutes,” she said. “With me this morning, it felt like I had slept only an hour, but that was not the case. My body is just exhausted. I let the nurse give me a shot of morphine and this morning went purely on character to the training.”
She plans her funeral with a smile on her face. She wants people to drink champaign over her win, not to cry over her death. Euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002, and can take place with the written consent of three doctors.