On Friday at the 2022 Winter Paralympics, alpine skier Sheyne “Sheina” Vaspi became Israel’s first ever winter Paralympian. The 20-year-old Vaspi competed in the women’s giant slalom competition wearing a skirt over her racing suit.
“It’s also a part of my religion and I’m happy I’m able to do that,” said Vaspi, an orthodox Jew raised in a Lubavitch Hasidic family.
Vaspi, who lost her left leg at age 3 in a traffic accident, says she previously encountered resistance about competing in a skirt.
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After the first run of giant slalom on Friday, she doubled down on that message. “If more women or religious people want to do sport and be religious, I want to show it’s possible to do that.”
Unfortunately for Vaspi, her 15th place finish in giant slalom will be her only result from the Beijing Paralympic Games. She was originally slated to also ski slalom, but anticipated high temperatures in China caused the race to be moved forward from Sunday to Saturday.
“I don’t ski on Saturday because I practice Shabbat,” she explained. “On Saturday it is a day for rest, no skiing, no sport.”
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