Lifewatch: Armless tri-athlete

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - Despite losing his arm in a horrific accident, a south Florida man recently swam, biked, and ran his way to the finish line of a triathlon.

Hector Picard is missing his right arm and part of the left, but that doesn't slow him down.  This is the second triathlon he has been a participant of in about a month.

"I got into it about two months ago," said Picard.  "My first one was July 4th and I had some friends that told me, 'You should try it.' And I was hooked."

After completing the swim in under 18 minutes, Hector tackled the next challenge - a 10 mile bike ride, followed by a three mile run.

Hector finished in plenty of time to wait for his younger brother, Frank, to cross the finish line.

"You can't put something past him," said Frank.  "He's capable of doing pretty much anything. From the moment of the accident you didn't see the next day but 17 years have passed by and it's pretty amazing where he is now."

While working as an apprentice electrician in 1992, Hector was struck by 13,000 volts of electricity, working on a transformer.

Most of his arms had to be amputated and he has burn scars on his body.  Most people don't survive that kind of accident, but clearly Hector is not most people.

"I remember when I heard he did the Christmas lights on the house," said Hector's sister-in-law, Joyce.  "He put them up by himself. That's amazing. So to complete this, I knew he could. He's an inspiration to all of us."

Hector was the only athlete with physical disabilities who competed in this triathlon.  He placed 674 out of 728.

Hector said completing the triathlon was a major accomplishment and is proud of himself for succeeding at something that is difficult for most people.