Rio Paralympics – Sweep for Mideast Athletes! By Graham Wilson, USAT Mideast Council
What a fantastic day for USAT and Mideast Paratriathletes in Rio.Grace Norman (Jamestown, OH), won Gold in Female PT4 category, Hailey Danisewicz (Chicago, IL), won Silver in Female PT2 category and Melissa Stockwell (Chicago IL) won Bronze in Female PT2 category!!!
We asked each athletes a few questions to get a feel of how their wonderful day went, what they learned, and what the future holds for each of them.
What was your most memorable experience? –
Grace: crossing the finish line in the triathlon in the gold medal position. So many emotions flooded me. Knowing that I gave my all and that all my training paid off. And then receiving the gold medal and hearing my country’s national anthem played was incredible.
Hailey: standing on the podium as part of an American sweep.
Melissa: There are too many to count just one! Seeing my family on race morning, crossing the finish line and the realization that we had a USA sweep and celebrating with my family and friends after. Pretty much that entire day! Coming home and letting my son see and hold my medal was a huge highlight as well!
What did you learn about yourself and the World?
Grace: I learned to believe in myself and not doubt my training and my coach and my Lord. I learned a lot about how other athletes from all over the world cope with their different disabilities and I got to see that no matter what country we are from, we all have the common goal of competing our very best and representing our respective countries the best we can.
Hailey: being a part of the Paralympic experience was more than I ever could have dreamed of, and these athletes do not get the respect and recognition that they deserve. I also learned that I perform my best when I am able to race in the present moment and be grateful for the opportunity to compete.
Melissa: On race day, nothing is a given, anything can happen and that’s the beauty of the sport. We are all fierce competitors but after the race we congratulate and are truly happy for the other athletes. The Paralympics brings the Worlds best athletes together and it unites us all as one. All with similar dreams and having made sacrifices to get to that point. It’s such an incredible atmosphere!
What are your future plans?
Grace: My future plans are to compete for Cedarville University in cross country, indoor and outdoor track, and keep training for Tokyo 2020!
Hailey: I will continue racing ITU events for the next four years with the hopes of going for Tokyo 2020. But first I’ll be doing the Houston marathon this January.
Melissa: In the near future we hope to expand our family so that is plan #1. A lot can change after having a baby but if my body allows it, I would love to continue my athletic career towards Tokyo 2020. In the meantime, I will continue my motivational speaking, work with Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club, be a mom and hopefully start some triathlon coaching in the near future!
Congratulations to all and we will see you again in Tokyo 2020!
RACE 2 RAISE
For those in the paratriathlon, triathlon, and endurance sport community, Dare2tri also has several ways to make your race more meaningful, at all levels. Dare2tri’s Race2Raise Team is comprised of athletes looking to make an impact for a great cause while competing in various triathlon, running, or endurance races. All funds raised by Race2Raise members will support Dare2tri’s mission to positively impact the lives of athletes with physical disabilities or visual impairments by developing their paratriathlon skills, while inspiring the community at large.
Race2Raise can be joined on the individual and/or corporate level. As an individual, Race2Raise can be done in conjunction with any race or event. At the corporate level, two co-workers can join the Race2Raise Corporate Challenge Relay Team for the 2016 Transamerica Chicago Triathlon. Dare2tri will pair the co-workers with a paratriathlete teammate to complete the triathlon relay. During the sprint race, each person competes in one discipline (swim, bike, or run).
Reapplication form – if already received the para-friendly application in the past
PAST REGIONAL PARATRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS:
2014 – Fox Lake, Fort Wayne, IN
August 25, 2013
Tri 1: Bob Swanson (IL) and Diana Helt (IL)
Tri 2: Levi Kane (IL) and Melissa Stockwell (IL)
Tri3: Brian Norberg (IL)
Tri4: Mike Wong (IL)
Tri5: Grace Norman (OH)
Tri6: Israel Antonio (IL) and Heidi Musser (IL)
Dare2tri.org – Chicago, Illinois