- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A gold-medal-winning Paralympian says she is considering euthanasia after competing in the 2016 Rio Games, which started Wednesday with the opening ceremonies.

Marieke Vervoort, a Belgian wheelchair sprinter who suffers from an incurable degenerative spinal malady, told France 2 she is constantly in pain and requires around-the-clock treatment.

“Everybody sees me laughing and happy and gold medals,” she said. “They don’t see the other part of me. I can have lots and lots of pain. I sleep sometimes only 10 minutes.”

Ms. Vervoort said she has previously considered assisted suicide, which is legal in Belgium, and imagines a funeral in which friends toast her into the next life.

“My funeral, it’s not going to be in a church,” she said. “It’s not going to be with some coffee and some cake. But I want everybody to have a glass of champagne and to say, ‘Cheers, Marieke. All the best. You had a good life. Now you are in a better place.’”

Ms. Vervoort took gold in the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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