Belgian Paralympian Marieke Vervoort said to reporters on Sunday that she is still considering euthanasia — but is holding off on the procedure for now.
Vervoort, who suffers from a degenerative muscle disease and who won silver on Saturday in the 400m wheelchair race in Rio de Janeiro, said she was still enjoying “every little moment.”
The Paralympian previously suggested she would take her life after the Rio Games, but has now dismissed that claim at a press conference.
She did, however, confirm this was to be her last Paralympics.
Vervoort, 37, signed euthanasia papers in 2008. Her disease is incurable and causes seizures, paralysis in her legs and most importantly, constant physical pain.
It is a struggle she’s carried since the age of 14 when she was diagnosed.
Euthanasia in Belgium is legal and Vervoort is keeping it as an option as she returns to life off track.
“After the Paralympic Games, when I quit, I’m going to enjoy every little moment in my life and I’m going to put more energy in my family and friends, which I couldn’t do with top sports because I had to train every day,” Vervoort said.
Assisted dying, Vervoort told reporters in Rio, helped give her the courage to keep training and living.
“It gives a feeling of rest to people. If I hadn’t gotten those papers I think I would already have committed suicide because it’s very hard to live with so much pain and suffering and this unsureness,” Vervoort said.
With Saturday’s silver medal, she adds to the two others, a gold in the 100m and a silver in the 200m, she won during the London 2012 Olympics.