USA Triathlon announced today its Paralympic triathlon team—comprised of 17 athletes who will represent the U.S. across a number of paratri categories at this summer’s Paralympic Games. The Tokyo-bound team includes four defending medalists from triathlon’s debut at the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, five athletes who have won world championship titles, and three Paralympic medalists in sports other than triathlon.
“USA Triathlon is proud to bring 17 incredibly talented paratriathletes to Tokyo,” said USAT CEO Rocky Harris. “Our athletes have demonstrated so much perseverance and grit on their way to this moment. They have stayed focused through the postponement of the Games and the many other challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This team is poised for historic performances on the world stage this summer, and we look forward to witnessing the culmination of their hard work.”
“After a four-medal showing in paratriathlon’s debut at the Rio Games, U.S. paratriathletes have continued to raise the game — and now, heading into Tokyo, this crew is faster, stronger, and more competitive than ever before,” said Amanda Duke Boulet, USAT’s paralympic program director.
Triathlon at the Paralympic Games
After many years of behind-the-scenes work, paratriathlon made its debut as a medal event at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. And in the PT2 category, the U.S. women made a sweep of the podium with Allysa Seely taking gold, Hailey Danz silver, and Melissa Stockwell bronze. In the PT4 category, the 18-year-old Grace Norman took the gold.
Paratri classifications are determined by severity of impairment and not all classifications are contested at every Olympics. (Athletes can choose to race in a higher classification if their category isn’t selected—meaning they would compete against those with less severe impairments.) In Tokyo, events will include PTWC (wheelchair) men and women, PTVI (visually impaired) men and women, PTS4 men, PTS2 women, and PTS5 men and women. All paratri events will cover a 750m swim, a 20K non-drafting bike, and a 5K run on the same course as the Olympic triathletes. The paratri races will take place on Saturday, Aug. 28, and Sunday, Aug. 29 at 6:30 a.m. in Tokyo—which will be 5:30 p.m. ET the day before, respectively.
Meet the U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team
- Elizabeth Baker (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), guided by Jillian Elliott (Gig Harbor, Wash.), Women’s PTVI
2016 U.S. Paralympian
Baker competed in paratriathlon’s debut at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, placing fourth. She is a seven-time World Paratriathlon medalist and fourth-place finisher at the 2019 World Paratriathlon Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland.
- Jamie Brown (Oceanside, Calif.), Men’s PTS4
Brown is a two-time World Paratriathlon Championships bronze medalist (2012, 2017) and six-time World Paratriathlon medalist. He is a 2003 graduate of Chapman University in Orange, California, where he played on the NCAA men’s baseball team.
- Kyle Coon (Colorado Springs, Colo.), guided by Andy Potts (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Men’s PTVI
Coon is a two-time World Triathlon Para Series medalist and a two-time World Cup medalist. His guide, Potts, is a 2004 U.S. Olympian.
- Hailey Danz (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Women’s PTS2
2016 U.S. Paralympic silver medalist
Danz won silver as part of a U.S. podium sweep with Seely (gold) and Stockwell (bronze) at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. She is the 2013 World Paratriathlon Champion and a six-time World Championships medalist. Danz is a cancer survivor and had her leg amputated due to osteosarcoma at age 14.
- Amy Dixon (Encinitas, Calif.), guided by Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), Women’s PTVI
Dixon is a 2019 U.S. National Champion, 2016 Aquathlon World Champion, nine-time World Paratriathlon medalist and six-time World Paratriathlon Cup medalist. Her guide, Sass, is a decorated amateur triathlete with 10 age-group world titles across the disciplines of triathlon, duathlon (run-bike-run), and aquathlon.
- Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas), Women’s PTS5 (classing up from PTS4)
Elmlinger served for 10 years as a U.S. Army medic, with three back-to-back deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. She had her leg amputated in 2016 due to synovial sarcoma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer. She won the 2018 USA Paratriathlon National Championships in just her second triathlon since becoming an amputee. She is the 2019 World Championships silver medalist.
- Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.), Women’s PTWC
2018 U.S. Paralympian (biathlon, cross-country skiing; 2 golds)
Gretsch is a multi-sport talent in both paratriathlon and Nordic skiing, having won two gold medals in biathlon and cross-country skiing at the Paralympic Winter Games in 2018. She is the 2014, 2015 and 2016 World Paratriathlon Champion, 2019 Worlds silver medalist, and was undefeated in elite paratriathlon competition from June 2014-July 2018.
- Chris Hammer (Elkins, W.V.), Men’s PTS5
2012 U.S. Paralympian (track & field), 2016 U.S. Paralympian (triathlon)
Hammer took 4th at the 2016 Paralympic Games in triathlon and competed in track & field at the London 2012 Games, placing ninth in the 1,500m and 10th in the marathon. He is currently head coach of the NCAA women’s triathlon team at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia.
- Eric McElvenny (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Men’s PTS4
McElvenny had his right leg amputated after stepping on an IED while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan. In 2019, he placed second at the U.S. National Championships and earned his first World Triathlon Para Series medal earlier this year.
- Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio), Women’s PTS5
2016 U.S. Paralympic gold medalist (triathlon), 2016 U.S. Paralympic bronze medalist (track & field, 400m)
Norman won a gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in paratriathlon and added a bronze in track & field in the 400m. She is a six-time World Championships medalist, including two golds, a silver, and two bronzes. She is a 2020 graduate of Cedarville University, where she competed on the NCAA track and cross-country teams. She also represented Cedarville at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships, placing 26th overall.
- Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ariz.), Women’s PTS2
2016 U.S. Paralympic gold medalist (triathlon), 2016 U.S. Paralympian (track & field)
Seely won a gold medal in paratriathlon’s debut at the Rio 2016 Games. She also took 6th in the 200m in Rio. Seely is the 2015, 2016, and 2018 World Paratriathlon Champion. She won an ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability after going undefeated for the entire 2018 season. She is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State University, where she competed on the club triathlon team, and she serves on the USA Triathlon Board of Directors.
- Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Md.), guided by Greg Billington (San Francisco, Calif.), Men’s PTVI
2012, 2016 U.S. Paralympian (swimming; 5 golds, 2 silvers), U.S. Navy veteran
Snyder is a U.S. Navy veteran who lost his eyesight in a 2011 IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan. One year after losing his vision, he won a gold medal in swimming at the Paralympic Games in London. A five-time gold medalist and two-time silver medalist in swimming from the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games, he made the switch to paratriathlon in 2018. Snyder’s guide, Billington, is a 2016 Olympian in triathlon.
- Melissa Stockwell (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Women’s PTS2
2016 U.S. Paralympic bronze medalist (triathlon), 2008 U.S. Paralympian (swimming); U.S. Army veteran
Stockwell won a bronze medal in paratriathlon’s debut at the Rio 2016 Games, completing a U.S. podium sweep with teammates Seely and Danz. She is the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Paratriathlon World Champion and a five-time World Championships medalist. She also represented the U.S. at the Paralympic Games Beijing 2008 in swimming. Stockwell is a U.S. Army veteran who became the first female American soldier to lose a limb in active combat while serving in Iraq in 2004.