Less than a month after the end of the Summer Olympics, it is almost time for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. Twenty-two different sports will showcase around 4,350 athletes, hailing from more than 160 countries. Here are a few Team USA athletes to follow during this year’s Games, and be sure to tune in from Sept. 7 to 18.
Will Groulx (Cycling)
After participating in the past three Paralympic Games as a member of the U.S. wheelchair rugby team, Groulx will compete in hand cycling this month in Rio. After attending the University of Tennessee on a volleyball scholarship, Groulx served in the United States Navy from 1995-2001. A motorcycle accident in 2001 left him paralyzed from the chest down. He discovered wheelchair rugby shortly after, and has won three Paralympic medals from competing in the sport. Tune in this week to watch his transition to hand cycling.
April Holmes (Track & Field)
A three-time Paralympic medalist, Holmes is ready to represent the USA in Rio at her fourth Paralympic Games. She ran track & field during her time at Norfolk State University, but ultimately chose to pursue a job in telecommunications after college. In 2001, a train accident resulted in the loss of her left leg below the knee. Her career in Paralympic track & field began the following year, and she has broken numerous world records since. Additionally, she began the April Holmes Foundation, which helps those who are disabled by providing scholarships, medical assistance and more.
Tatyana McFadden (Track & Field)
McFadden, who is headed to Rio for her fifth Paralympic Games, has continually worked to fight for the rights of those with disabilities. She was born with spina bifida, paralyzing her from the waist down. McFadden was adopted from an orphanage in Russia by Deborah McFadden, the Commissioner of Disabilities for the U.S. Department of Health at the time. The 10-time Paralympic medalist became the youngest member of Team USA in the 2004 Games in Athens. Additionally, she competed in cross-country ski racing in the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games. The recipient of the 2016 ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability, McFadden serves on the board of directors of Spina Bifida of Illinois, and has worked to pass legislation allowing those with disabilities equal opportunities to participate in sports in school.
Rebecca Meyers (Swimming)
A current world record holder in seven events, Meyers will soon participate in her second Paralympic Games. Diagnosed with Usher syndrome, the swimmer has been deaf since she was born. In 2015, she was awarded the 2015 ESPY for Best Female Athlete with a Disability. She also works to raise awareness of Usher syndrome. Follow the swimmer as she competes to win her third Paralympic medal.
Jerome Singleton (Track & Field)
When Singleton was just 18 months old, his leg was amputated below the knee. He didn’t let this hold him back — in high school he became one of South Carolina’s top football prospects. He went to Morehouse College and later the University of Michigan, and even interned at NASA. He competed at his first Paralympic National Athletics Championships in 2007, and has won several awards since, including both gold and silver medals in Beijing’s 2008 Paralympic Games. Now, he’s ready to take on the competition at his third Paralympic Games.
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