Burbank man hoping to qualify for Paralympics this summer

From the southwest suburbs to Tokyo, a Burbank man is on his way to qualifying for the Paralympics this summer.

And he's doing it with his teeth!

"Just because you have a disability, doesn't mean you can't do the things you want to do. You may have to find another way to adapt to it.  But you can still do it," said Ron Rispoli, an archer.


Rispoli lost the use of his right arm as a child, but he never let it get in the way of his love of sports. As a child, he played basketball, football, tennis and bowling.

"When I was in college, I had an opportunity to try out for the baseball team and I turned it down. I regretted it and to this day I look back and say I wonder what if," Rispoli said.

Fueled by that regret, he is taking the greatest shot of his life. For months, he's been attending Paralympic qualifying events across the country. He picked up adaptive archery 10 years ago when a friend introduced him to the sport.

Rispoli uses a mouth tab to shoot. He bites down on the tab to draw the bow back. Then, he releases his jaw to let the arrow soar.

He won't know for several weeks if he has qualified for the Paralympic games. Either way, he's making his mark.

"It's all about having a ‘can do’ attitude rather than a can't do," said Rispoli.

Rispoli is looking for sponsors to help him with his travel and lodging expenses to qualifying events. If you or our business are interested in helping, please reach out to him at spoli13@sbcglobal.net.