ARVADA – Maureen Beck choked up as the Star Spangled Banner played over the loudspeaker of a facility in Spain last year.
She was on a podium, accepting a first place award in the International Federation of Sport Climbing paraclimbing world championships. Beck, 28, took first place in the woman upper limb amputee category of the competition.
"To actually be up on that stage hand over heart, it was such an incredible feeling," Beck said.
Beck has been climbing for 15 years, after she started as a Girl Scout at camp.
"I shouldn't be a rock climber because I was born with one hand," she said. "I think people preconceive what you can and can't do."
Doctors believe Beck suffered from a condition called amniotic band syndrome, in which her hand broke through the amniotic sack before she was born, causing it not to finish developing.
Her parents refused to let it be a limit in her life.
"My parents never let me feel bad for myself because I don't think they let them feel bad for themselves," she said.
"They just said alright – you've got one hand – it's no different than you have blue eyes and brown hair. It's just the way we're gonna rock it."
And rock it she did. Climbing was always a childhood interest, but in college, Beck got even more serious about it.
She entered competitions, taking on people who didn't have any physical limitations as she did. And soon after that, she found adaptive competitions.
Before she knew it, she took first place in her division at nationals and was headed to the world championship.
Now she's formed a team for other disabled climbers in the area.
(© 2015 KUSA)