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USA Triathlon today announced eight paratriathletes who have met the qualification standards and will represent the United States in triathlon’s debut at the Paralympic Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro.
See the announcement from USA Triathlon below:
The eight initial members of the U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team are:
Krige Schabort (PT1, Rome, Ga.)
Hailey Danisewicz (PT2, Chicago, Ill.)
Allysa Seely (PT2, Glendale, Ariz.)
Mark Barr (PT2, Houston, Texas)
Grace Norman (PT4, Jamestown, Ohio)
Chris Hammer (PT4, Salt Lake City, Utah)
Patricia Walsh (PT5, Austin, Texas)
Elizabeth Baker (PT5, Signal Mountain, Tenn.)
“We are pleased to have such a strong and large delegation leading into our sports debut this September,” said Amanda Duke Boulet, USA Paratriathlon Program Senior Manager. “We have a good mix of veteran Paralympians and first-time Paralympians that can help to mentally prepare each other for the Games. We know we have some medal contenders in this group and are looking forward to watching these eight athletes make history in Rio.”
The triathlon events on the Paralympic Games program will be contested on Sept. 10-11 at Copacabana Beach, with the men competing on Sept. 10 and the women scheduled to compete on Sept. 11. Triathlon’s Paralympic debut will feature three sport classes per gender: PT1/wheelchair, PT2/severe impairment and PT4/mild impairment for men, and PT2, PT4 and PT5/visual impairment for women. Paratriathlon was added to the Paralympic Games program in December 2010.
The eight U.S. quota spots for the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team were confirmed on June 30 with the close of the Paralympic Games qualification period. The quota spots were awarded based on international rankings of U.S. athletes from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. The eight athletes filling these spots met qualification criteria set by USA Triathlon, including top finishes at the 2015 Rio de Janeiro ITU World Paratriathlon Event on Aug. 1 and the 2016 CAMTRI Paratriathlon American Championships on March 13 in Sarasota, Fla.
In addition to country quota spots awarded through the rankings process, a number of invitations will be awarded to individual athletes by the Paratriathlon Bipartite Commission. Any additional athletes invited to compete in Rio in September, and therefore awarded spots on the U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team, will be announced by USA Triathlon on or after July 8, when the invitations are issued to athletes by the commission.
Schabort has competed in five Paralympic Games so far in his career, winning medals in the Paralympic Games marathon event in 1992 (bronze) and 2000 (silver). He qualified for the team as the top American and second overall at the 2015 Rio de Janeiro ITU World Paratriathlon Event, which served as the Paralympic Games test event, and he has finished on the podium in all international competitions, including a gold medal at the 2014 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships. Schabort also won the ESPY for best male athlete with a disability in 2015.
Danisewicz is a first-time Paralympic qualifier and won the women’s PT2 sport class on the proposed Paralympic Games course last August. She won a world title in 2013 and has four world championship medals to her credit. Danisewicz is also a two-time ITU Continental Championships winner and has only finished off the podium once in her career.
Seely is the reigning world champion in the women’s PT2 sport class, and she confirmed her qualification to the team on March 13 by winning the CAMTRI Paratriathlon American Championships, the final qualification event for the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team. Seely has won the last four international races she has started. She finished third on the Rio course last August.
Barr competed in the Paralympic Games in 2004 and 2008 as a member of the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team, and he qualified by finishing as the top American and second overall in the PT2 sport class in Rio in August 2015. Barr has won multiple USA Paratriathlon National Championship titles and has six victories in international events since 2013.
Norman is the youngest member of the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team. Since her international triathlon debut in 2014, she has won seven medals in ITU events, including silver at the Rio de Janeiro ITU World Paratriathlon Event and the 2015 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships. Norman, a two-time PT4 national champion, is also an accomplished track runner and could potentially compete in two sports in Rio this September.
Hammer previously competed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games as a member of the track & field team and won his first international triathlon in 2013. Hammer is a two-time USA Paratriathlon National Champion and won the bronze medal at the 2014 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships. He also won the Strathclyde ITU World Paratriathlon Event on June 5 and the Detroit ITU World Paratriathlon Event last August.
Walsh finished third overall and was the top American at the Rio de Janeiro ITU World Paratriathlon Event last August to qualify for the team. She has won seven career gold medals and finished third in the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in 2011 and 2012. Walsh has also been the USA Paratriathlon National Champion every year since 2011.
Baker is relatively new to the international triathlon scene, having only made her international debut in 2015. She finished second at the 2015 USA Paratriathlon National Championships in May and the 2015 Detroit ITU World Paratriathlon Event in August. She earned her spot on the team by winning the CAMTRI Paratriathlon American Championships on March 13 in Sarasota, Fla., and went on to win the Penrith ITU World Paratriathlon Event on April 24. All qualifications and nominations to the U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team are pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.