Athlete Spotlight – Candace Cable

Candace Cable’s story is one in which we see a woman experience a great challenge, work to overcome that challenge, and turn around to devote her life to helping others in her situation. Her zeal in advocating for people with disabilities and connecting others with adaptive sport is both admirable and inspiring.


Candace Cable grew up in Southern California, and throughout her childhood she enjoyed the delights of hiking, swimming, and playing outside. In 1975, when she was 21 years old, Candace was involved in a car accident, which left her with a spinal cord injury. For two years she spent time rehabilitating in Rancho Los Amigos, but it was a difficult time during which she felt little hope for an active and vibrant future.

While enrolled at California State University in Long Beach, Candace became acquainted with wheelchair sports. Her world opened back up again, and she knew many possibilities lay ahead in her future. Through adaptive sport Candace was able to rebuild her self-esteem and create a new social circle, which is vital for recovery from a life-altering injury.


During the late 1970s, wheelchair racing was in its early stages of development and recognition as a sport. Candace quickly became a wheelchair racing enthusiast and competitor, and she helped put the sport on the map. She has been involved in the evolution of wheelchair racing equipment, creating race director guidelines, and fine-tuning other elements of the sport, such as rules and endorsements.

Candace’s athletic achievements in wheelchair racing are incredible. She was selected to participate in the first ever Olympic wheelchair racing event at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Though this time it was an exhibition event, she raced her way to success at subsequent Olympiads. She attended the 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1996 Summer Paralympic Games. She also pursued alpine wheelchair ski racing and was once again met with success. She competed in five Winter Olympics. During her career as an Olympian, she won 12 Paralympic Medals, 8 Gold medals. Candace was the first woman to win medals in both the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games.

She has also won an astounding 84 marathons, including six Boston Marathons.


While Candace is still an athlete, she does not actively compete. However, retiring from sport has not left her on the sidelines. Candace spearheads the adaptive sport movement by consulting across the world with NGOs, government agencies, and sports groups to spread the message of human rights for people with disabilities. Candace has led numerous workshops and presentations to help educators and students understand how to include people with disabilities and make their world more accessible.

Some groups she has worked with and directed include:

  • Turning Point Tahoe – Director from 2006-2013 (Uses outdoor recreation to generate greater inclusion and quality of life impact for individuals with disabilities.)
  • S. State Department Speaker and Specialist – 2014
  • Skiing Athlete Representative to the USOC Athlete Advisory Council – 2012-2016
  • Consultant, Speaker, Blogger, Advocate with The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
  • United States International Council on Disabilities – Consultant
  • UNICEF – Consultant on inclusive education

We are thrilled to award Candace with The Athletes in Excellence Award, and we encourage you to watch her video below!