Tokyo 2020 Paralympics: International Treasures

The US Paralympic Trials arrive in June, and Amplitude will have extensive coverage at our new Paralympic microsite. You’ll find profiles there of all 120+ amputee athletes vying for spots on Team USA, along with brief sketches of dominant limb-different competitors who’ll be representing other nations in Tokyo. Here’s a handful of amputee medal contenders from around the globe.

Manashi Joshi // India // Left above-knee // Badminton

The reigning world champion, Joshi has become an influential advocate for disability rights in India. Time named her a Next Generation Leader last fall and put her on the cover of its Asian edition. 

Quotable: “Sports helped me break stereotypes. I want to use that experience to be an enabler for others.”

Read more at: Tokyo2020, “World champion targets Paralympic glory and inclusivity”

Fleur Jong // Netherlands // Bilateral below-knee // Track and Field

She nearly retired after struggling at the 2016 Rio Games and requiring corrective surgery in 2018. But she roared back at the 2019 Worlds, taking gold in the 100m sprint and the long jump, an event she’d only taken up a few months earlier. 

Quotable: “My mission is to show that an impairment does not have to be a limitation.”

Read more at: Tokyo2020, “I have to be good at the Games”

Jaco Van Gass // South Africa // Left above-elbow // Cycling

After losing his arm in Afghanistan, this combat veteran trekked to the North Pole with Prince Harry and came within a whisker of summiting Everest. Bike racing may seem humdrum by comparison, but Van Gass is fired up to win a medal.

Quotable:  “This is one time in four years where we actually get a bit of recognition for what we have achieved and how we adapt.”

Read more at: BT Sport, “Jaco Van Gass has his sights set on next year’s Paralympics”

Jiang Yuyan // China // Right above-elbow, right above-knee // Swimming

A national champion since age 11, Jiang gave a show-stopping performance as a 14-year-old at the 2019 World Championships: five medals, three golds, two world records. Bullied as a child, she’s now a hero to Chinese kids.

Quotable: “You don’t need a crutch or prosthesis in the water. You can determine where you go based on your own strength.”

Read more at: Daily Mail, “Double amputee fights against the odds”

Johannes Floors // Germany // Bilateral below-knee // Track and Field

Few athletes—para or able-bodied—had a bigger year in 2019 than Floors. He set world records in both the 100m and 400m at the World Championships in Dubai, earning Paralympic Sportsman of the Year honors. After a bout with COVID last July, he’s back in top form and gunning for gold.

Quotable: “It’s not about the prostheses anymore. It’s all about our performance.”

Read more at: ISPO “Prostheses have become cool”

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