Derek Franz
dfranz@eaglevalleyenterprise.com

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March 27, 2013
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Former Eagle resident prepares for Deaflympics

Former Eagle resident and competitive athlete John Klish was recently selected to the U.S. Deaflympics team and is trying to raise $7,500 by July.

These particular Games are for deaf athletes and will be in Sofia, Bulgaria, from July 26 through Aug. 4. Klish said 120 elite deaf and hard of hearing athletes will represent the USA in 10 different sports.

"The Summer Deaflympics are among the world's fastest growing sporting events," he said. "More than 2,500 deaf athletes and officials from 77 nations participated in the 21st Summer Deaflympics in Taipei, Taiwan, in September 2009."

The Deaflympics began in 1924 and was organized by the International Committee of Sports of the Deaf.

"Unlike hearing Olympians or Paralympians, elite deaf and hard of hearing athletes like myself must do my own fund-raising because I do not receive financial support from the United States Olympic Committee," Klish continued. "This presents a twofold challenge for Deaflympics athletes: fund-raising and training for the Deaflympics."

The Enterprise published a story about Klish in 2011. The 32-year-old was born deaf, beat testicular cancer in 2005-2006 and has been traveling all over the world to compete in various foot, bike and swim races. Though a hip injury sustained in Taiwan last November put Klish off the race schedule for most of the winter, in general he trains 15 to 25 hours a week, enters around 50 races a year and works full time as an engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

"I was transferred back to Grand Junction (with CDOT) in May 2012," he said. "I started to plummet mentally in October 2010 and fell apart. I took some time away from work to heal my mind - I believe I was overworked at the construction job I was overseeing that summer. After being mostly healed, I got back to the job and had to relocate. In short, my job conditions changed and I had to change to address my depression situation appropriately."

Klish was selected for the Deaflympics by the team coach.

"You qualify through the racing experience and participation in various deaf cycling events," he said. "My coach picked me through my performance at the Tour de Formosa race this past fall in Taiwan, where I won a couple of medals (first and second places)."

For the Deaflympics, Klish plans to participate in all four road cycling events - a 1000-meter sprint, 40-kilometer individual time trial, road race, and 50-kilometer points race.

"I'll be focusing more on road races this summer to hone my road skills and I'll still be doing a few triathlons and mountain bike races here and there to keep it interesting," he said. "I'm one of these kind of people that needs to mix it up to keep the training fun."

A website has been set up for people to make donations and help Klish reach his goal of $7,500 to go to the Deaflympics at www.gofundme.com/Klishy-Deaflympics. So far, 40 percent, or about $3,000 of the fund-raising goal has been reached.


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The VailDaily Updated Mar 27, 2013 01:25PM Published Mar 27, 2013 01:23PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.