July 13, 2014 | by WHITNEY WARD & KREM.com of KREM.com
SPOKANE, Wash.—Online voting ends July 16 for a Spokane woman who is nominated for one of the highest honors in the sport world.
Minda Dentler is a paraplegic tri-athlete from Spokane and she is also up for an ESPY Award.
Polio changed Dentler’s life when she was just six months old.
Three years later, Dentler was adopted. Her birth mother left her at an orphanage because she could no longer take care of her. She left Indian and was raised in Spokane by Dr. Bruce Dentler and his wife Ann.
“She’d been in a sitting position for about a year,” Ann Dentler told KREM 2 News. “It caused all of her ligaments to shorten and contract.”
As a result, Minda endured painful surgeries, but eventually learned to walk with the help of crutches and leg braces. She remembered watching her brothers and sister take part in sports and wondering how it would feel to actually be in the race.
“I always, I guess, participated from the sidelines,” said Minda. “I would cheer on my three siblings. I volunteered for a number of races, including Bloomsday, and I always thought how awesome it would be to participate or compete, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it.”
However, it was not until Minda grew up and moved to New York City that she was introduced to Achilles International, an organization which enables athletes with disabilities.
That is when Minda took to hand-cycling, which then grew into full triathlons. In 2012, she qualified for the ironman competition.
“I didn’t finish,” she added, I was actually about two hours off pace and so I had to quit in the middle. I regrouped and tried to figure out a way to train differently, harder– to get my mind right, and my body right, so I could finish the race.”
In 2013, Minda not only finished, she won her division. Minda is now one of four finalist for an ESPY Award.
“I actually don’t know how I got nominated,” Minday told KREM 2 News. “I just received an email that said you’ve been nominated. “
Minda might be surprised, but her parents always knew she was destined for great things.
“When you adopt children, people often look at you admiringly, like how much you’re doing for that child,” said Minda’s father Bruce,” and I think what became apparent to me as a parent is that we got so much more out of Minda.
“We’ve always expected that her determination and personality would take her lots of places,” said Ann.
However, whether or not Minda wins an ESPY, she knows she has already won.
“It makes me feel good to know people are kind of watching me,” said Minda, “and maybe taking on things they thought they couldn’t do.”