Of the 289 athletes on Team USA, 34 U.S. Veterans attended the 2016 Paralympic Games. Included in this elite team o athletes were four active duty military personnel and one guide.
The athletes represented four services: The Air Force (one athlete); the Army (22 athletes); the Marine Corps (seven athletes) and the Navy (four athletes). And they played seven sports: Archery, Cycling, Paratriathlon, Rowing, 7-A-Side Soccer, Shooting, Sitting Volleyball, Swimming, and Track & Field.
The medal count for Team USA at the 2016 Paralympic Games was 40 Gold Medals, 44 Silver Medals, and 31 Bronze Medals resulting in a total of 115 medals at the 2016 Paralympic Games.
11 Gold, one Silver, and one Bronze Medals were awarded to those members of Team USA who were active duty military and veterans:
• Archery Men’s Individual Compound Bow: Andre Shelby – Gold Medal
• Cycling Women’s C4 3000 meter Individual Pursuit: Shawn Morelli – Gold Medal
• Cycling Women’s Time Trial C4 Winners Shawn Morelli – Gold Medal
• Cycling Men’s Road Race H2 Winner: Will Groulx – Gold Medal
• Cycling Women’s C4 3000m Individual Pursuit: Shawn Morelli – Gold Medal
• Paratriathlon: Melissa Stockwell – Bronze Medal
• Rowing: LTA Mixed Coxed Four: USA – Team Gold, Helman Roman
• Sitting Volleyball: USA Team Gold, Kari Miller
• Swimming: 100m Breaststroke: Elizabeth Marks – Gold medal
• Swimming: Men’s 400m Freestyle: Bradley Snyder – Gold Medal
• Swimming: Men’s 100 meter Freestyle: Bradley Snyder – Gold Medal
• Swimming: Men’s 50m Freestyle: Bradley Snyder – Gold Medal
• Swimming: Men’s 100m Backstroke: Bradley Snyder – Silver Medal
There is an interesting history to the Paralympic Games. The first athlete with a disability to compete in the Olympics was German American gymnast George Eyser in 1904. He had an artificial leg. However, the first official Paralympic Summer Games was held in 1960. And the first Winter Paralympic Games occurred in 1976.
There are ten official impairment types in which athletes may be defined and these different types are broken down further by each individual sport. Examples include, limb deficiency or loss, muscle impairment, vision impairment or loss of sight. A number of Team USA members lost limb(s) while serving in wartime Afghanistan and/or Iraq.
We Americans salute all of our representatives of Team USA who attended the 2016 Paralympic Games. And we want to especially acknowledge our 13 active duty and veterans who accounted for about 25% of all Gold Medals and about 10% of all the medals won this year.
We are proud of you!