Digital Collection Promotes Paralympic Movement
Updated: Aug 15
Four US Paralympians are raising awareness about disability and the Paralympic Movement through the release of a collection of digital artwork known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Ryan Neiswender, Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Gold Medalist in the sport of wheelchair basketball, is leading the effort to raise greater awareness of individuals with physical disabilities. Neiswender is a Lebanon, Pa., native who lives in Charlotte, NC.
“I believe that every generation should continue to move the needle forward and educate the public that we (people with disabilities) can make a huge impact in business, work, everyday life, sports and beyond,'' said Neiswender. “The purpose of releasing this NFT collection is to further educate people about our movement and provide fans an opportunity to support the athletic accomplishments of these individuals while promoting our movement.”
Team Dromos 1.0 collectibles, which are available for purchase at fantokin.com/@teamdromos, include four different athletes from various sports.
In addition to Neiswender, the other athletes include: professional wheelchair tennis player and 2x Paralympian, Dana Mathewson of Orlando, FL; Beijing 2022 Gold Medalist in sled hockey, Kyle Zych of Holyoke, MA; and 9x Gold Medalist in three Paralympic sports and the 2022 US Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame Inductee, David Kiley, aka “DK” of Mooresville, NC.
Mathewson said she didn’t believe adaptive sports would be competitive after she was diagnosed with the rare auto-immune disease called Transverse Myelitis, which left her paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 10. Mathewson is also a 2022 Wimbledon Ladies’ Doubles Champion and top-ranked American player (number 8 in international singles) in her sport.
“When your world suddenly and unexpectedly changes, it’s hard to see that you can still play competitive sports and be a shining example of what you can accomplish in your life when you set your heart to rise above the challenges you’ve been presented,” said Mathewson. “This collection of digital artwork celebrates the accomplishments of all adaptive athletes and disabled artists whose hard work, dedication, and perseverance are a testament to the desire to be successful in all aspects of your life.”
Team Dromos 1.0 represents the culmination of artistic and athletic talent with a touch of social activism. While each NFT artwork features a specific athlete on Team Dromos, the project as a whole represents the beauty of the Paralympic Movement and 15 percent of the world population living with a disability.
It is the first-of-its-kind NFT collectible where athletes with a disability have been captured in unique, super hero-esque ways by artists with disabilities, demonstrating the diversity and inclusion of the NFT space and that investing in disability is not just the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do.
In creating this awareness campaign, Dromos CEO and Founder, Ish Tanyeri requested that the artists who created the artwork for this special NFT collection also have a disability.
“It was important to me to have my athletes captured by people within the disability community.” Tanyeri said. “Representation isn’t always about the facade we see on the billboard or the model on our screens. It starts in the sketch room. The boardroom. It happens behind the scenes. If we don’t allow those with disabilities to be the decision makers, the idea generators, or simply to be leaders, we will simply not move forward as a society. So, for this project, I let the two artists with very different stylistic backgrounds dictate the creative direction. The result is beautiful.”
Fantokin is an NFT platform that celebrates the artistic talents of creative individuals and the accomplishments of athletes like those featured in the Team Dromos 1.0 collection, according to Fantokin’s Founder Bryan Speece.
“Our whole team is honored to be working with this group of para-athletes whose achievements have been impressive on and off the field. It’s a privilege to play a role in recognizing their successes through this collaboration,” said Speece. “I’m also loving the artwork in this collection which is among the best I’ve seen in the digital collectibles space.
Canada-based Troy Linstrom from Prince George, British Columbia and Rin Vanderhaege from Ontario are two artists with disabilities who have accepted to be part of this historic collectible. "These athletes are amazing, learning their stories and working together to capture their inner magic has been exciting," said Rin Vanderhaeghe about the NFT project.
This unique joint venture of artists and athletes is designed to showcase their respective talents.
“We are excited to team up with Fantokin to launch Team Dromos 1.0 collectibles, the first-of-its-kind NFTs in the world by artists with disabilities for athletes with disabilities,” said Tanyeri. “In this historic collection, we’ve brought art and sports together, but perhaps more importantly, we have united the disability community to collectively say, 'Hey, we're all here!’”
“We are providing the artists and the athletes with income opportunities in an exciting and innovative space while recognizing their unique talents,” said Tanyeri. “We welcome everyone to check out these NFTs, connect with the artists and athletes on social media, and start collecting!”
The Paralympic edition of NFTs will drop on August 19th. Fans and NFT collectors are encouraged to purchase these special editions of their favorite para-athletes before they are gone.
To learn more about the incredible accomplishments of these athletes, visit the Dromos website. Information on the artists who created these collections are listed below.
Fantokin is the digital collectibles marketplace to discover and collect truly unique digital creations by the world’s most talented social creators. Fantokin empowers creators with the tools needed to create and sell their digital creations to their fans and collectors. Artists, photographers, writers, and many other creative individuals use Fantokin to mint and sell their digital creations online through the use of environmentally friendly WAX blockchain technology.
About Dromos Agency
Located in Boston, MA, Dromos is a boutique talent management, public relations, and branding agency exclusively working to support elite athletes with a disability and nonprofits operating in the para-sports space. The agency was founded on the principles of the Paralympic Movement with the mission to increase awareness to and recognition of Paralympians worldwide. www.dromosagency.com
Rin Vanderhaeghe Artist Bio:
Rin Vanderhaeghe is a Queer, Disabled multidisciplinary Artist and graduate of Western University with a degree in Studio Art and Anthropology. They explore relationships between human and nature and how nature persists within cities. Using a fairy tale aesthetic, Rin weaves magic and history into every medium, including textile art dolls, sculpture, illustration and music. Their art has been shown in galleries in Toronto, New York, and London, England. Rin, who lives in Ontario, Canada, is a passionate advocate for accessibility and inclusivity, and most certainly loves all cats.
Troy Lindstrom Artist Bio:
Troy Lindstrom was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in his early 20s. Troy’s art is his purpose. He has always used art as a coping tool, but now he creates through the disability lens his lived experience has given him. He uses his digital art to make people with disabilities visible and to confront the stigma and bias they face. Seeing what is happening to the disabled during the pandemic has shown Troy that the progress they had made through accessibility and inclusion was an illusion. Troy, who’s based in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, wants to confront those who think the disabled are worth less, celebrate people with disabilities, and our allies with his illustrations.
Editor’s Note: To arrange for athlete and/or artist interviews or to acquire athlete and/or artist headshots, please contact Ish Tanyeri of the Dromos Agency at email@example.com. For additional content about fantokin.com or to speak to Fantokin CEO Bryan Speece, please contact James Mentzer at firstname.lastname@example.org.