- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Born in Russia, adopted in 2005 and setting a national record in 2013, para-athlete Talea Ingmire takes on the mindset that she can do anything.
In the National Junior Disability Championships held in Minnesota from July 6 to 13, Ingmire broke the T42 classification juniors national record in the 100-meter run with a time of 49.64 seconds.
Ingmire, 14, came away with four first-place titles during the national championships, two on the track and two in the pool. She earned first in the 200 run (1 minute 49 seconds), 50-meter freestyle (2:25.56) and 50 backstroke (2:15.92).
“I was amazed and proud of myself,” Ingmire said. “I have worked out a lot. I swim a few times a week and run [with my mom] around both the neighborhood and track.”
Ingmire was born with arthrogryposis, which is a rare congenital disorder that includes multiple joint contractures.
Occurring once per every 3,000 live births, according to multiple websites, arthrogryposis causes tendons, bones and joints to form abnormally, and tendons may not be connected to a proper place in a joint.
It is a nonprogressive and irreversible condition.
Ingmire was adopted by Lexington Park residents Gordon and Jennifer Ingmire, which was finalized in 2005.
The Ingmire family first came upon Talea when Jennifer’s mother sent a picture of the young athlete to her and her husband.
After finding out Talea was in need of a family, Jennifer and Gordon attempted to find her one before eventually taking her in themselves.
“We brought our other children with us, and she really just hit it off well with the family right away,” Jennifer Ingmire said of the first meeting. “We were excited to be able to meet her and get to know her, and she just has this personality that just bubbles over.”
Talea is one of five Ingmire children, three by way of natural birth and two adopted.
“I was pretty psyched,” Talea said of meeting her then-future family.
She added of what her adopted parents have meant to her life, “A lot. They help push me through at the times where I need it the most.”
Jennifer is the one of nine children, with six handicapped adopted siblings.
“In Russia,” she said, “Talea would not have been considered a capable body. So, to have her go out and set a national record is just amazing. ... It makes me feel really proud of her. She puts everything into it, gives everything her all, always has a smile on her face, and it’s great to actually see her achieve something when so many people didn’t think she could do anything.”
Talea fell in love with sports while on a visit to the U.S. and living with the head of an adoption agency.
She saw two special needs girls who participated in the paralympics, which then sparked her interest in sports.
Her interest, mixed with the “You can do anything you put your mind to” mantra from her adopted mother, gave Talea all of the confidence she needed to participate.
Talea will be a freshman at Great Mills High School this fall, and her love of sports will be evident; she plans to participate in a sport through each season — soccer in the fall, swimming in the winter, and track and field in the spring.
“Very nervous,” Talea Ingmire said of going to the high school level. “I want to have lots of friends and get to know my teachers and be inspired by them. ... I want to do my best [in sports] so that I can go to the paralympics, and it will be kind of like my practice while at school because it will be the real deal, like, at the paralympics and nationals.”
Talea is currently a member of the Paralympic Sports Club of Southern Maryland, which is under the direction of the St. Mary’s County Recreation and Parks. In the club, she participates in the adaptive aquatic program and on track and field team — the club also offers shooting and bocce.
“St. Mary’s County has been really fantastic,” Jennifer said, for her daughter, who also has played soccer in the recreation and parks league since being adopted. “She loves soccer, absolutely loves it. She has done some Taekwondo through parks and rec, she has taken ballet, and the community here has really embraced her and allowed her to try whatever it is she wants to try.”
Other successes for Talea this year include five first-place finishes in the Richard Cadmus Disabled Sports Meet held in New Jersey in June and two swimming first-place finishes in the Children’s Specialized Hospital Swim Meet in New Jersey in March.
For more information on the Paralympic Sports Club of Southern Maryland, interested athletes, coaches or volunteers can call Christina Bishop at 301-475-4200, ext. 1802.