WINTER PARK, Colo. — Kyle Taulman is in a class all of his own, as one of the best sitting skiers in the world. But when he's on campus at the University of Colorado, Taulman just wants to fit in.
"The adaptive community is really the only community that you can wake up tomorrow and be a part of," he said. "A lot of people don't realize that and don't think about that, but when you are a part of that group, you want those same opportunities that other people have."
Taulman was left paralyzed at the age of 2 after a high-risk neuroblastoma wrapped around his spinal cord.
An all-around athlete, Taulman began playing wheelchair tennis and even played at the College Wheelchair Tennis Championships. He knew it was time to expand the adaptive club sports on one of the country's most active campuses.
Taulman recently earned the school's support to offer adaptive accommodations for recreational sports, including the addition of more sport wheelchairs to the rec center. His hope is that it will one day expand to more competitive sports.
"Our real goal with the whole initiative is to build recreational and competitive sport at CU. My goal, of course, is more toward the competitive side because that's what I enjoy most," he said. "I just want students to get out there and enjoy being active and I also want to build that adaptive community on campus."
The Steamboat Springs native will be competing in his first-ever Paralympics in seated slalom, after finishing 12th in the Super G at the World Cup event in Sweden. Taulman hopes his elevated profile can be a positive platform for adaptive sports in Colorado.
"It's a lot to carry," he said. "As my coach always says, his two rules are 'be on time,' and 'be a good citizen,' and that's just representing yourself and the people who supported you along the way in the best way that you can."
It's also about being an ambassador for the sport he loves.
"Most of those guys aren't making much money, unless they're getting huge sponsorship deals, which most of us aren't, but we all love sport and we all love competing," he said. "Sport is healing and that's what I want to be able to build and that's what the community helps with, as well."
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