Lacey Henderson

Lacey Henderson

The backstory:
Lacey lost her right leg at age 9 after she was diagnosed with a rare knee tumor. She was a varsity cheerleader at the University of Denver but didn’t take up competitive sports until after graduating in 2011 with a degree in Spanish and French. Two years later, she set a U.S. Paralympic record in the long jump and finished just off the podium in the World Championships. She competed at Rio in 2016 in both the long jump and 100 meters and made the long-jump finals, finishing 8th to lead all U.S. athletes.

Away from the track:
Lacey hosts a podcast called Picked Last in Gym Class, which features disabled activists, artists, and athletes.

In her own words:
“In the Paralympics, everybody comes with a story. There are just these insane examples of what the human spirit is capable of. I think that’s why [the Paralympics] are so important. I think disability has a really unique privilege of being able to transcend race, gender, and all these things to be accessible even to people who aren’t part of the community.”

“In athletics, you’re constantly learning about yourself, and you’re constantly having to grow and change and adapt. And [the COVID-19 pandemic] is just another version of it, but like in a really extreme way. It can be a shock to find out that you’re not the center of the universe, and that the world wasn’t designed for you—that you have to change yourself to adapt to the environment. A lot of people haven’t had the opportunity for that to come across their lives.”

Further reading:
* Amplitude, “Picked Last in Gym Class
* Denver Post, “How Lacey Henderson’s Vacation Got Interrupted
* WBUR, “From Paralympics to Podcasting
* Team USA page
* IPC page


Paralympian 2016

8th 🏅


  • Name: Lacey Henderson
  • Sport: Track and Field
  • Limb Difference: Right leg below knee
  • DOB:6/11/89
  • Residence: Denver, CO
  • College: University of Denver
  • Previous Games: 2016
  • Classification: T62