Gymnast With 1 Leg Defies the Odds

Kate Foster with prosthetic leg and on balance beam
Kate Foster has become a role model for young amputees who want to achieve big goals.

Kate-Foster / Facebook

When Kate Foster was 7 years old, she fell in love with the sport of gymnastics. Her mom could barely keep her out of the gym as the young athlete always wanted to stay late and go to extra practices. But when she turned 12, the unthinkable happened. This bright, vivacious young lady was diagnosed with leukemia. To make matters worse, Kate developed a cancer-related infection in her leg that would require amputation.

Kate remembers telling her doctors that they couldn't take her leg because she needed it for gymnastics. But, after explaining the procedure to her, they told her, "It's your leg or your life."

Kate was devastated. She assumed that her life as a gymnast was over, but her coach had different ideas. She told Kate that while she had never coached a one-legged gymnast before, she was willing to give it a shot if Kate was.

That was four years and many cartwheels ago.

Now 16, Kate competes on the national level with her team, with and against two-legged peers. Yet even though she is the only gymnast with a prosthetic leg, she is held to the same standard as everyone else on the mat.

“They don't change the rules for her ... they're not saying, ‘OK, you don't have to do this part of it or you don't have to do that part,’” Kate's dad told ABC-WATE news.

If Kate stumbles on a landing, points are deducted just as they would be for any other competitor, despite the fact that she has to rely on one leg instead of two. But as you can see from this video that her dad posted on Facebook — a video that has been viewed almost 5 million times — there is really no need for Kate to get special treatment.

Kate has become an inspiration to young people everywhere who face big challenges as they work towards their goals. But Kate doesn't see herself as heroic. “People tell me all the time that I'm an inspiration, but I'm just me,” she said in an interview with "Good Morning America." She's just a young girl with big dreams and the courage to follow them.