Interview: Dorman Alumnus Doug Forbis

scrunners: How long have you competed in wheelchair racing?
forbis: I'm finishing up my sixth year now and I plan to continue as long as my body and life will let me.

scrunners: What is the most high profile meet you have competed in?
forbis: During my junior year I went to Australia for an International meet against athletes from the U.S., South Africa, Thailand, and Australia.

scrunners: Have you thought racing in a wheelchair marathon event?
forbis: I've thought about it, but for a wheelchair racer i'm actually a better sprinter than distance runner so I don't consider it seriously. Next year, I think I have to in college.

scrunners: What was it like to be on 20/20?
forbis: It was a little bit crazy. It's weird to be flipping channels and to see your own face.

scrunners: When did you find out about this?
forbis: They (20/20) called me in late February and told me they wanted to do a segment on me after seeing the MTV thing from last year.

"I basically take all the things I've learned from camps, athletes, just anywhere, and do them."
--Forbis
scrunners: How do you train for wheelchair racing?
forbis: I basically take all the things I've learned from camps, athletes, just anywhere, and do them. Sometimes I do Dorman workouts, sometimes I do one of my own invention. It just depends how my arms feel on the day.

scrunners: How does the Dorman team relate with you on a daily basis?
forbis: The team is great. They've all really respected me and accepted me as just another guy on the team. One of the guys even came up with sketches of a Pole Vaulting wheelchair, that was great.

scrunners: Where do you train?
forbis: I train at the SC School for the Deaf and Blind, at Dorman, and at UNCC in Charlotte. It depends on whom i'm practicing with.

scrunners: Are you competed in any meets this summer?
forbis: This summer I'm competing in Mesa, AZ at the National Junior Wheelchair Championships. It's not just a track meet though. There's swimming, archery, weightlifting, table tennis, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, and probably some things I don't know about. I will be competing in track, field, swimming, and the basketball tournament, if I have time.

scrunners: What has been the biggest challenge for you on the track and in the classroom?
forbis: Is staying awake a challenge? I'm kidding. The biggest classroom challenge was learning how to manage my time between sports, friends, and school. On the track, it was dodging the other runners, and probably learning the proper technique for wheelchair racing.

scrunners: Have you ever thought about coaching wheelchair athletes in the future?
forbis: I actually do want to coach track to wheelchair kids in the future. I'm going to University of Illinois. By doing track out there, I'm hoping to learn enough to be a knowledgeable coach for the kids.

scrunners: Do you have a specific coach right now for training?
forbis: My coach right now on my wheelchair team, the Carolina Cyclones, is William Brady, a former paralympian in field. However this is my last year with them and next year my coach will be Marty Morse, the head coach in Illinois.

scrunners: What year are you at Dorman?
forbis: I just graduated this year. Free at last!

scrunners: Is there a wheelchair athlete you admire, if so why and have you ever met them?
forbis: I really admire Saul Mendoza. He's a wheelchair marathon runner, but his best event is the 1500. Everybody has their own personal favorite, he's mine. I met him early in my sports career and he was who I tried to model myself after. He also helped me train at a camp last year.

Coach Bobby Urban's comments on Doug Forbis:
"Doug has been on the Dorman track team for the past three years. It was great having him out there because he's always positive to everyone and he's pretty funny as well. He keeps everyone laughing with his sense of humor. His determination and outstanding work ethic was great for everyone out there, he really rubs off on everyone on the team. As a coach, I hope to influence young people by teaching them about hard work, dedication, commitment, and so on. A coach hopes his athletes learn something, so to speak, along the way. But every once in a while an athlete comes along who teaches the coach life lessons. Doug was that kind of athlete for me. He was very inspring to me as a coach and more importantly as a person."

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