Road to Rio: First Year of Triathlon at the Paralympics!

It's a new year, and while 2016 has many exciting events to offer, here at the GRIT office we've got all eyes on Rio de Janeiro and the 2016 Paralympic Games. There's a lot to be excited about, and we'll be keeping you up to date and informed on everything you need to know, starting with the new events at this year's games. First up: the Paratriathlon.

Photo Courtesy of Rio2016.com

Photo Courtesy of Rio2016.com

Background

This is the first year the Paratriathlon has been accepted for the IPC's Paralympic Games. There are a lot of great reason supporting the inclusion of Paratriathalon in the Paralympics on ITU's website, but this is our favorite:

While paratriathlon has the potential to be the fastest growing sport in the Paralympic Movement, in that process we are accomplishing something that goes well beyond the expansion of Para-sport: we are helping to create inspirational role models for the world.
— Triathlon.org

The Paratriathlon will be comprised of six events: three for the men's team (PT1, PT2, and PT4) and three for the women's (PT2, PT4, and PT5). What do those events mean exactly? Our friends at Rio2016.com put together this handy chart: 

Image courtesy of Rio2016.com

Image courtesy of Rio2016.com

Ones to Watch 

Photo courtesy of Paralympic.org

Photo courtesy of Paralympic.org

Martin Schulz (GERMANY)

Martin Schulz is the undisputed king of the PT4 class - he's won every single triathalon race he competed in between June 2013 and September 2015, including four titles in 2013 and 2014.  He lost out on gold in the 2015 World Championships due to an upset caused by Canada's Stefan Daniel, the next "one to watch" on our list. 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Paralympic.org

Photo Courtesy of Paralympic.org

Lauren Steadman (Great Britain)

Paralympic Swimmer Lauren Steadman made a splash in 2014 when she defeated fellow Brit Faye McClelland at the World Championships, and she continued her winning streak in September of 2015 when she successfully defended her World Championship title.  

 
Photo Courtesy of TriathlonCanada.com

Photo Courtesy of TriathlonCanada.com

Stefan Daniel (CANADA)

Canadian Teenager Stefan Daniel caused an uproar at the 2015 World Championships thanks to his unexpected win over Martin Schulz.  Stefan was the first athlete to defeat Schulz since June of 2013.  Their rematch in Rio will no doubt be one of the most exciting events in 2016

 
Photo Courtesy of Northwestern.edu

Photo Courtesy of Northwestern.edu

Hailey Danisewicz (USA)

Team USA swept the women's PT2 category at the 2015 World Championship and Hailey Danisewicz, who has been competing in ITU paratriathlon events since 2012, came home with a silver medal. That's not all:  she also walked away having secured the first spot on the 2016 Paratriathlon Team, thanks to her previous win at the Rio paratriathlon world event in August. 

 
Photo Courtesy of the New York Daily News

Photo Courtesy of the New York Daily News

George Gallego (USA)

George Gallego started triathlon training in 2007 as a personal challenge after a spinal cord injury caused his weight to double to 350 lbs. In addition to his athletic prowess, Gallego found his true passion in mentoring others with spinal cord injuries and founded Wheels of Progress, an organization that helps facilitate integrated housing for those with an SCI or other disability.  He hopes to represent the USA in the PT1 category in Rio in 2016.

 
Photo Courtesy of Triathloncompetitor.org

Photo Courtesy of Triathloncompetitor.org

Melissa Stockwell (USA)

Officer Melissa Stockwell is no stranger to high pressure situations: after losing her left leg while serving in the US Army, Stockwell became the first Iraq Veteran to be chosen for the 2008 Summer Paralympics for swimming. After winning 3 paratriathlon World Championships, she hopes to represent USA in Rio in 2016.

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