Marieke Vervoort won a silver medal during Saturday’s T52 400m.
One of the nine openly LGBT athletes competing in this year’s Paralympics, Marieke Vervoort recently said the Rio games will be her last.
However, despite earlier reports claiming Vervoort was considering euthanasia directly after this year’s games, the silver-medal winner says she has no plans to end her life just yet.
Throwing a press conference to clear up any confusion, Vervoort says that although she signed euthanasia papers in Belgium back in 2008, she wants to educate people on the matter before taking any further action.
She also explained that having the papers makes her feel in control of her own destiny, encouraging hope and giving her control of her own future.
“When I didn’t have those papers, I would have committed suicide. I hope other countries like Brazil can talk about it. It makes people live longer,” she said.
“It doesn’t mean that when people sign the papers, they have to die two weeks later. I signed my papers in 2008.
“Look now, 2016 and I won the silver medal.”
Vervoort – who says she wants to skydive, fly a jet and open a gallery before dying – also pointed out that assisted dying is not a danger to patients, saying her “fear of death is gone.”
“I have a progressive disease,” she said. “Every year, it is worse. Every time, I give things away.
“What’s the next thing coming? I am really scared.
“Assisted death is something like they operate on you, you go to sleep and never wake,” she added during her moving speech.
“It feels like it will be peaceful. I don’t want to suffer when I die.”
The Belgian wheelchair athlete happily showed her captive audience her silver medal from Saturday’s T52 400m. She also revealed the motto that keeps her going.
“Believe you can!” she shouted. “Yes, you can!”