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Amputee Athlete Tells Her Story
Date:12/16/2009

Sarah Reinertsen has run marathons, competed in triathalons and appeared on The Amazing Race

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Sarah Reinertsen likes to think of herself as part human, part machine.

A one-legged girl in a two-legged world is how the 34-year-old triathlete likes to describe herself. When she's not training for a marathon, you can find her speaking to packed school auditoriums or posing nude with her metal leg crossed over her bare right leg on the cover of the latest ESPN Body Issue.

She is the first female amputee to win an Ironman competition. She climbed the Great Wall of China and scaled a giant cliff in Vietnam during the 10th season of the CBS television show The Amazing Race. And when she's not running or biking or swimming, she's trying on artificial limbs to test the latest body armor for a company that makes prosthetics. She also rallies soldiers who have lost their limbs to war. She is a hometown hero talking to runners who have known her since she was an 11-year-old who climbed into a sneaker and began running for her life.

Now, the California resident tells her story in a new book, In A Single Bound. Born off-balance in the world with a leg that would never catch up to the rest of her, the non-hereditary birth defect is called proximal femoral focal deficiency. Reinertsen just wanted to fit in; a hard thing to do when it was decided that her leg had to be amputated at the age of 7. When she saw her peers signing up for soccer, she begged her mother for a uniform and a chance to play. And while her parents shunned the word "can't" in their home, there wasn't much they could do from the sidelines when the coach sent her off alone to kick the ball against a wall. It would become a metaphor for her life, a message that echoes in virtually everything that Reinertsen sets out to do. Young people must achieve their goals no matter what anyone tells them to do,
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