ESPN The Magazine and Vice Sports collaborated on “the story of Josh Basile, a quadriplegic who uses adaptive rehabilitative sports adventures to motivate others with spinal cord injuries. Basile organized a sail to Cuba on the Impossible Dream, which was designed by a quadriplegic and is the only wheelchair-accessible yacht in the world.
Tim Rasmussen, Director of Photography, Digital and Print, spoke with Front Row:
How did this story come about?
Freelance photographer Carol Guzy pitched the story to me about Josh Basile, an amazing man who was paralyzed at 19. Carol talked about how Josh has used sports as a way to get himself and others out of their homes and wheelchairs to live life more fully. He patented a version of golf called SlingGolf, for those with disabilities, and founded his own non-profit, Determined2Heal, offering assistance and inspiration to others who are paralyzed.
Carol had photographed Josh 12 years earlier when he was going through rehab and the two stayed in touch. ESPN Digital and Print enterprise editor Jena Janovy saw the pitch as a perfect match. She then tapped Eric Nusbaum, through our partnership with Vice Sports, to join Carol on the story and senior editor Justin Ellis of the Magazine to edit.
What were some of the challenges that stood out?
One challenge was arranging for travel to Cuba on a sailboat, and figuring out all the rules for Americans and journalists to work there. We had a great deal of help from Margo Krampitz in [ESPN] production in securing last-minute visas.
Ironically just before the trip, Guzy was hospitalized with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which was temporarily paralyzing to a degree. She faced some of the same challenges she was documenting, using a spare wheelchair and a compassionate fixer to pick her up when her legs wouldn’t work. But it offered a view from their perspective that provided inspiration to “live every breath,” as Josh says and (he) called Guzy a true warrior.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In May 2016, VICE and ESPN announced that they will be joining forces for the first time.