Winter Senior Games: Beating the Odds to Make the TeamAired March 1, 2000 - 2:54 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: And now a story about seasoned athletes. The Winter Senior Games are underway in Lake Placid, New York.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: CNN's Brian Cabell profiles an athlete who beat the odds to make the team.
BILL CAMPERINO, SENIOR ATHLETE: You don't like that thing flopping around.
BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As he readies for his first ever snowshoe race in the Senior Winter Olympics, Bill Camperino remembers a time long ago.
CAMPERINO: I just got sick one day. They took me to the hospital, and I was supposedly the first diagnosed polio victim in Syracuse.
CABELL: He was three years old. The dreaded polio virus had invaded his nervous system, weakening muscles, withering limbs, threatening paralysis. He was hospitalized and bedridden for months.
But look at him now, challenging himself with a new sport. He's heard that polio victims generally push themselves harder than their healthy counterparts. That is true for him.
Camperino awakens at 4:30 every morning to manage his home- building business and run. At age 52, he does about 30 miles a week. From the time he was a child, he was told, don't feel sorry for yourself.
CAMPERINO: And I was always told that it would be good to partake in all kinds of physical activities, and the theory back then was: Use it or lose it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a matter of really pumping the arms and lifting the knees.
CABELL: There's plenty of advice for first-time snowshoers like Camperino, but not much time to prepare. The 100-meter sprint starts in a matter of minutes.
The first Senior Winter Olympics in Lake Placid has drawn about 250 athletes, ages 50 and above. They ski downhill and cross country. They're on the rink for curling and hockey. And like Bill Camperino...
CAMPERINO: I'm ready.
CABELL: ... they're snowshoeing.
He's slow at the start in his two-man heat. Slowly he gains. But his novice form hinders him, and he can't catch up. Second in his heat, but also second out of four in his age group.
(on camera): Next up for Camperino is the slalom and giant slalom. He's never raced on skis before, but so what. After all, this is a man who's always been told to use it or lose it.
Brian Cabell, CNN, Lake Placid, New York.
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