Hello! My name is Stef Reid.

A few weeks ago my brother posted a couple pictures of me and there were requests for an AMA. If you guys still have questions, fire away!

I am an amputee long jumper and sprinter who competes for Great Britain. I just won a silver medal for the long jump in the London 2012 Paralympics!! I became an amputee at 16 years of age, when I was accidentally run over by a motor boat and caught in the propellers. The doctors didn't think I'd survive, but I did :)

Here are a couple different places that have some more pictures of what I do and my different legs.

Here are 2 you tube videos that show myself and my legs in action:


My Facebook page has more pictures: https://www.facebook.com/StefanieReidOfficial?ref=hl#!/StefanieReidOfficial

my twitter @RunJumpStefReid

I'll be back at 1pm ET, to answer questions!

Comments: 109 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

ken2723817 karma

In your opinion what was the best part of the Olympics that the general public doesn't get to see/experience?

Thanks for doing this AMA :)

StefReid21 karma

The best part is the atmosphere of the athlete's village. We live in this bubble that is both awesome and weird. You are surrounded by driven and motivated people that share your interests and passion. The after parties are also pretty awesome :-)

n0n0nsense9 karma

how much sex did you have in the athlete's village?

StefReid42 karma

An obscene amount - too embarrassed to say! But I should probably add that my husband was also in the athlete's village. He competed as a wheelchair racer for Canada. We hadn't seen each other in 3 months.

funfungiguy12 karma

If you had only primitive weapons, and had to fight a dinosaur to the death in a "Dinosaur Death Match", what is the biggest dinosaur you think you could defeat? You don't have to give a specific dinosaur, just give us a general size. Also you can't set traps.

StefReid38 karma

Assuming that "primitive weapons" allows for the possibility of me riding bare-backed on a T-rex, I am quite confident I could defeat any and all dinosaurs!

ken272388 karma

this is the only correct answer. you win!

StefReid15 karma

YES!!!! I am very competitive!!!

ChaoticV10 karma

What are your opinions of people with prosthetics competing in the regular Olympics, like Oscar Pistorius? Do you think there will be a time when prosthetics could be considered an advantage in the future?

StefReid43 karma

Regarding the debate surrounding the issue of whether or not Oscar should be able to compete in the Olympics, I think the focus has been on the wrong question – “Does Oscar have an advantage using two blades rather than 2 human feet?” I suspect that Oscar is working as hard, if not harder than his able bodied competition. But I think the point is mute.
I think that apples should race apples, and oranges should race oranges. It is not discriminatory; it is just the reality of having a meaningful race. At the end of the day, running on 2 blades is different to running on two human feet. The fact that Oscar can run 400m in the same time as an elite able bodied 400m runner does not automatically mean they should be in the same race. For example, the world record for the men’s T54 wheelchair 400m is 45.07 seconds, which is well under the Olympic A standard for men’s 400m. Should they be allowed to race able bodied runners in the Olympics as well? It is easier to say no because the difference is more obvious – they are using their arms, not their legs. But the principle is still there regarding Oscar. I want to be wrong about this, and I hope that someone does come up with a better argument than me. But this is the point that I, personally, get stuck on. I definitely sympathize with Oscar. He is an athlete ahead of his time, and I can understand his desire for a new challenge as the rest of Paralympic world has yet to catch up with him. I definitely support his participation in able bodied events for two reasons: 1) His ability to compete with able bodied athletes demonstrates to the public how far Paralympic sport has come 2) He should be able to make a living competing at meets like the Diamond League. It is my hope that in years to come, amputee runners continue to develop that are able to challenge Oscar so that racing a Paralympic 400m is a little more exciting and challenging for him. I think the day will come when top able bodied runners who are looking for a new challenge, request entrance to Paralympic events!

hulia_wobble8 karma

Now that you've had (some) time and distance from your long jump, do you have any residual feelings toward being awarded silver based off a combined point system? Is breaking the Paralympic record, twice, any consolation? You're amazing!

EDIT: What's it like, knowing everyone in an arena is cheering just for you?

StefReid11 karma

Being in the arena with that much support was absolutely incredible!!! I wish everyone at some point in their life could experience what it is like to have 80,000 people cheering for you! I am not upset or bitter about the combined points system. I knew the rules going in and I was prepared to compete. The points system is not perfect, it is a work in progress. The system is based off statistics, and I am confident the IPC did the best they could considering the low sample group they had to work off. The only thing that is frustrating is the lack of consistency from the IPC when choosing which groups to combine. For example, they held a T13 long jump final with only 6 participants, yet they chose to combine my long jump event with 42s (single above knee amputee) when more than 14 T44s (single below knee amputee) qualified independently for the games. Thank you for your encouragement!

tedistkrieg7 karma

Do paralympic athletes have a Paralympic Village with similar drunken debauchery as the regular Olympic Village?

StefReid14 karma

YES, possibly worse! It is impossible to find an unused condom anywhere the morning after the closing ceremonies party

Cfeds777 karma

Being Canadian are you constantly apologizing to the people you pass on the track?

StefReid16 karma

HAHAHAHAH............this made me laugh out loud!!! I do apologize to them, but it is more of a "I am sorry you are so slow" :-)

thombudsman6 karma

What's your occupation, besides Paralympic competitor?

Edit: capitalization

StefReid15 karma

I am a keynote speaker (I hate saying I am a movtivational speaker because it sounds really cheesy!). But I am also completing my Masters in Nutrition. My undergraduate degree is in biochemistry, and nutrition seemed like the best way to combine my love for sport with my love for the lab!

SenorLopez6 karma

Did you gain motivation to sprint/long jump after the accident or was that a passion beforehand?

StefReid4 karma

I grew up playing all sorts of sports, from basketball, to volleyball, to ballet. When I was 12, I fell in love with rugby. I wanted to play internationally. After the boating accident, I tried going back to rugby, but a lot of referees wouldn't let me play anymore because they were concerned my prosthetic leg might harm someone in the scrum. So I started looking for other sports. I had been formally trained as a sprinter, but I was always the fastest on the rugby field. So, I decided to give it a go!

DasSchnootz5 karma

Overall, what was the hardest part about becoming an amputee at age 16?

StefReid10 karma

There were two difficult realties to overcome. 1) My passion in life was sport. I didn't know if I was going to be able to walk again, let alone run. I wasn't sure I wanted to continue on with life if I wouldn't be able to fulfill my dream. 2) Accepting the fact that you are always going to look differently from other people. You have this fear in the back of your mind that people won't accept you, and will see you as weird. Not the best feeling when you are just entering the dating scene!

MentalAtrophy5 karma

How has being an amputee affected your romantic life? Any instances of being rejected or specifically sought after for your unique physical qualities?

StefReid16 karma

I think if anything, the accident ended up having a really positive impact on my romantic life. After becoming an amputee, I had a choice to make - I needed to decide if I still had value as a person even though I was different. I needed to decide if I still thought I was beautiful, even though I didn't look like models in a magazine. I realized that the number of limbs I had didn't affect who I was as a person. It helped me to develop an quiet inner confidence. Confidence is attractive, and I never had problems getting a date after the accident!

Danielhibbs5 karma

I've heard of a a condition called Phantom Limb Syndrome, which shows that even after amputation, you are still able to 'feel' your amputated body part. Do you find this to be true yourself and if so, do you find it a help of a hindrance when competing?

StefReid10 karma

Yes, it is true. For about 6 months after losing my foot, I had the sensation of having a big toe that was constantly itchy. It was driving me crazy. There was nothing I could do about it, as I couldn't itch a big toe that didn't exist! Fortunately, I don't have any issues with phantom limb anymore.

TheGoodBadUgly4 karma

can you expand on the accident? and congratualations!

StefReid10 karma

I was tubing, which is where you attach an inner tube to the back of a motor boat and travel across water at high speeds - it is actually really fun! But I fell off the tube and was waiting in the water for the boat to come and pick me up again. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication between the driver and the spotter, and the driver didn't know I was in the water. When I realized the boat was headed for me, I switched into survival mode and started assessing my options. I thought my best bet would be to surface dive, and get far enough below the water to avoid the propellors....but I forgot I had a life jacket on, and didn't get very below the surface. When I was run over, I felt like I was under water forever. When I finally surfaced again, I wasn't in any pain, so I thought I had been incredibly lucky. But I didn't feel quite right - I felt a little naked. I thought I had just lost my bikini bottoms. But when I reached down to see if they were there, my hand when into my body. The propellors had caught by lower back and glutes, and my right leg. It was very scary and very serious. I was very fortunate to survive and not bleed out.

brodesto4 karma

What motivated you to pursue your dream of being in the Paralymics? Was there a certain moment or person that encouraged you the most?

StefReid6 karma

When I first heard about disability sport, I wasn't really sure I wanted to be involved. I thought it was a bit "Mickey Mouse", that I would turn up and clean up because I had been an athlete before. But I had a bit of a wake up call when I got my butt kicked in the long jump by a 42 year old woman. I realized that this was a serious competition. Competing in the Paralmypics is a dream worthy of pursuing and dedicating your whole life to. It means so much to me that I gave up medical school to do this.

Knikkz4 karma

How do you like your carbon fiber leg compared to your amputated leg? Does it feel almost natural or is there a large difference?

I'm not really sure how to word that without feeling offensive...

StefReid11 karma

Staring is offensive - questions are most certainly not, so ask away!!!! My legs are awesome! I cannot believe how natural and comfortable it feels to run on them. The difficult part when running is that you are having to do it on two legs that don't match. If you have two normal legs, or two blade legs, then you are constantly in sync. I have one normal leg, and one blade leg, so they hit the ground with different forces, and spring off the ground with different frequencies. I am constantly having to fight rotational forces, so I spend a signifiant amount of time with my physiotherapist trying to rebalance my body.

Knikkz3 karma

That's awesome, thank you for answering that. Will your body naturally rebalance itself over time without you working at it?

StefReid7 karma

No, it is something I will have to work at for the rest of my life if I want to remain as mobile and active as I am. It is so easy to slip into bad habits as your body will naturally take the path of least resistance when it comes to movement. You have to force good neural patterns, especially when you are an amputee.

Honourably-Disagree3 karma

What do you think you would be doing if you never became an amputee?

StefReid4 karma

I would probably be in New Zealand playing rugby! Or I would be a surgeon specializing in open heart surgery!

chenobble3 karma

First off - congratulations!

Also - those carbon-fibre legs look really sci-fi - do you ever feel slightly like a kick-ass cyborg from the future?

StefReid6 karma

Yes, totally!!! I used to be shy and embarrassed about being an amputee. But now I am really proud of my legs! I like to make them super flashy, add a couple splashed of hot pink and some cool quotes, maybe in the future hit them up with a bedazzler!

JAMIEInc2 karma

Was there a sense of "community" within the Athlete's Village? Was everyone generally friendly to each other, or were there a few friction-filled exchanges?

Also, after the final games, did everyone go "crazy"? AKA, do things they're not permitted to during the Games? Such as eating unhealthy food, drinking and what-have-you?

Finally, you're a true inspiration and a true role model for England - well done, and I hope you know everyone in the UK is proud of your hard work, Stef :)

StefReid3 karma

The first few days in the Athlete's Village tend to be a little tense and anxious. I didn't witness any friction between athletes, but everyone is nervous about their competition and they tend to keep to themselves. As the days move on, and people finish, the atmosphere tends to liven up as people are more chilled and relaxed!

The sense of community in the village is pretty great. We all have so much respect for each other. I know what it has taken for me to get to where I am, and I know what all of my competitors have gone through to get here. We relate on so many levels to each other. As much as I want to beat the girls I compete with, I am genuinely happy to see them succeed and record personal bests.

I wouldn't say that everyone went crazy, but we do know how to have a good party. I went for dinner after the closing ceremonies, and the line up for McDonald's was half an hour long!

Thank you so much for your support. I have been humbled by the response of the British public to the Paralympicds

dexemplu2 karma

Congratulations! You seem like a very motivated and cheerful person. Too bad you're doing this AMA in the same time as that Simpsons writer, reddit would love you.

This will sound rude, so I apologize: You said that you're husband is in a wheelchair. Did you actively look for a significant other that had a similar (if not worse) physical disadvantage as you?

StefReid6 karma

No - if anything I was hesitant at the start. Despite being an amputee, I was very ignorant regarding the realities of being in a wheelchair. I discovered I was carrying some prejudices - I didn't want to be in a relationship where I was primarily a caregiver. But when I started hanging out with my husband, I realized how ridiculous I was. He was completely independent - he drove, he had his own house, he had a great job as a software engineer. I ended up feeling pretty silly. I love my husband for who he is - functional legs don't enter into the equation.

sterlingarcher00692 karma

After winning a silver medal, getting several endorsements, and a job as a keynote speaker; could you say the best thing that ever happened to you was getting run over by a boat?

After all those hardships of losing part of your leg, what would you say is the greatest perk?

What's your favourite thing to eat after a track meet? Do you think boneless, skinless, chicken breast is overrated?

StefReid4 karma

No - if I could go back and change things I would definitely want to have my real foot back. Nothing beats the real thing. But what I would not want to lose is what I learned about myself and about life through my accident. The best thing that ever happened to me was having an attitude adjustment and learning how to make the best of a difficult situation. I have always worked very hard and been a determined and passionate person. Losing a limb didn't change that - it just gave me a different platform.

The greatest perk to being an amputee is the wonderful practical jokes that can be played when you have artificial leg at your disposal!

My favourite thing to eat after a track meet is ice cream, once my boring recovery shake has been downed. I believe in celebrating and acknowledging achievements! Plus, the sugary carbs of ice cream are actually best tolerated after an intense workout!

NinjaDiscoJesus2 karma

You make any money from advertisers?

StefReid6 karma

Yes. I have had some amazing sponsors in the lead up to the Paralympics, such as VISA, and BP. They have made training full time possible. It is very exciting to see more and more businesses acknowledge that professionalism of Paralympic sport, and that people with disabilities can be successful commercially

awitlesssir2 karma

Not really a question,cut I thought I should let you know how beautiful I think you are! Do you get this a lot?

StefReid2 karma

Thank you! That is very sweet!

mrpiranna1 karma

do you prefer open toed shoes as to close toed shoes

StefReid3 karma

I like them both! In fact, I regularly paint the toe nails on my artificial foot, so I welcome opportunities to show off my handy work!

snappy0331 karma

Why do you have an American accent?

StefReid10 karma

I don't. I have a Canadian one! My family moved to Toronto when I was 4, so that is why I picked up a Canadian accent instead of a British one.

bmj3951 karma

Have you ever worked with adaptive adventures?

StefReid1 karma

No, but I am intrigued :-). What is it?

sjcay1 karma


StefReid5 karma

I do, but many would argue that it was my passion that made me do insane and ridiculous things to pursue running! Like giving up a full academic scholarship to PAY to go to a lesser known university just so I would be closer to a high end running club. I think passion is special - if you are fortunate enough to find something in life that feeds your passion, don't let it go. Nothing can buy or replace passion

TheFalseComing1 karma

Congrats for the recovery and medal win :). What made you choose Britain over Canada? And are you planning on competing in Brazil?

StefReid7 karma

I would like to compete in Brazil. I still think I have a farther jump and a faster 100m/200m in me. In terms of the Britian Canada debate, this article sums it up http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/aug/29/paralympics-2012-stefanie-reid-great-britain

tedistkrieg1 karma

How did you first become a Long Jumper/Sprinter? After your accident did you ever think you would be an olympic athlete?

StefReid6 karma

I first tried sprinting after watching a track and field practice from my dorm in university. I decided to pursue my goal of becoming a doctor, and was in my first year of my biochemistry degree when I saw some sprinters and wondered how fast I could still run! It was such an amazing dream come true when I received my first running prosthesis. Lying in my hospital bed, competing in the London 2012 stadium at the Paralympics was the last place I thought I would end up!

tayabkhan10 karma

Best TV show?

StefReid5 karma

My favourite series include New Girl, Big Bang Theory, and Scrubs