Beatrice de Lavalette, Terrorist Attack Victim, Competes in the Paralympics

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Beatrice de Lavalette
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The 2021 Tokyo Paralympics showcased many new incredible athletes. Amongst them was Beatrice de Lavalette, a dressage rider who participated in the 2021 Paralympics games after surviving a terrorist attack five years ago. Read on to discover this incredible inspiration…

Beatrice de Lavalette: Survivor

2021 Paralympics
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When Beatrice de Lavalette was just 17, a dressage rider from a young age, she went through the most terrifying experiences ever: a terrorist attack. On March 22, 2016, the dressage rider headed to the Brussels International Airport. She planned on heading to the United States for her spring break, never knowing her day would soon take an incredibly dark turn. As she spoke to friends on her cell phone at the airport, a terrorist detonated a bomb right next to Lavalette. The next few moments were more harrowing than any movie or television show.

“I remember waking up in the airport, lying down, seeing ash, dust, smoke, fire, darkness – and seeing the light literally coming through from the entrance of the departure hall,” she said. “I knew that to survive, I needed to get past that door, but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t see my left leg, but it was still there. My right leg was at a right angle.” Within just a few minutes, paramedics arrived. “So [the emergency services] saw me, but left me behind, because I was bleeding out,” she recalled. “There was nothing I could do until I saw a fireman. I remember him saying, ‘There’s one over here,’ because I threw my hand up as high as I could.”

Thankfully, the medical workers found Lavalette and saved her. Sadly, others were not so lucky – more than 30 people died, and over 300 received injuries. At first, paramedics marked Lavalette as a “red” patient, meaning she was unlikely to survive. However, the young woman pulled through! While in the hospital bed, she made a promise to herself to make it to the Olympics. Now, Lavalette has shown just how resilient the human spirit can be…

2021, A Year of Inspiring Results

Beatrice de Lavalette
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“Setting that goal in the ICU five years ago was a dream and being here today is a dream realized,” Lavalette recently recalled. “I couldn’t be happier about that. I’m very proud of myself, very proud of my team because without them I couldn’t be here. It’s just one of those things you dream about and when it happens, you’re just the happiest person in the world.”

Finally, after a lot of hard work, the dressage rider made it to the 2021 Paralympics. Lavalette came fifth riding with the 14-year-old Dreamcatcher gelding Clerc in the grade II individual (70.27%). Moreover, the pair was sixth in the freestyle (72.19%). “To me personally, it’s a great honor to be here representing the US, having fun with my horse, and just being here after five years of fighting for my life,” the survivor said after her wins. “It’s was really very emotional for me at the end. I was very happy to be here. There was a little tear there – I’m just so happy to be here.”

Above all, Lavalette wants everyone to know that anything is possible, as long as you put your mind to it. “Anything is possible if you just put the hard work in and have a dream. Just go for it,” she said. “I have flashbacks to what happened all the time, but they don’t bother me. I’ve made my peace with it a long time ago…Even prior to the accident I knew that there was a purpose in my life, but I could never figure it out. I do now.”

Sources: Horse & Hound, Good News Network