Amy Dixon is a elite para-triathlete, and motivational speaker. She’s the Vice President of Glaucoma Eyes International Organization, and serves as a coach and mentor to visually impaired athletes, eye disease and autoimmune disease patients.
Amy lost 98% of her vision due to a rare form of Uveitis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the middle layer of tissue in the eye wall. Her remaining vision has both advantages and disadvantages in racing. While she can see some items in transition, the increased heart rate during races often leads to distracting white out or flashing conditions.
In addition to competing at an elite level on the ITU circuit, Amy coaches visually-impaired athletes and hosted a camp for blind and deaf-blind triathletes at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA last winter.
We spoke with Amy about her career, training and how she interacts with guides during training and racing. The realities of racing as a blind triathlete can be challenging. Guides that are eligible and fast enough can be hard to find, almost every race requires international travel (with a tandem bike). Expenses add up quickly when you're paying for both yourself and a guide. (You can help Amy defray some expenses by donating here). But the thrill of performing at a elite level and showing that the visually-impaired can not only participate in triathlons, but also be fast triathletes.
We talked to Amy's guide for ITU Yokohama (and recent Lost in Transition guest) Kirsten Sass about her experience being a guide for an athlete she met just days before the race.
If you are interested in learning more about being a guide or a visually-impaired athlete, these resources can help you get started.