Our 80 person strong team has landed in Sochi and they are ready to compete. Allow me to introduce you to a few names you’ll want to remember.
Allison Jones – Jones has competed in the Paralympics seven times in each Summer and Winter Games since 2002. She’s an LW2 alpine skier and Para Cycler in the Summer Games. She earned her first medal in Torino 2006 for the slalom event. Jones has a mechanical engineerng degree from the University of Denver and plans to complete her Masters in prosthetics and orthotics.
Taylor Chace – This is our local Portsmouth, NH hero. He played competitive hockey throughout his childhood and was injured in a hockey game at age 16 resulting in a spinal cord injury. He became involved with Northeast Passages, an organization that empowers people with disabilities to pursue athletics, and was eventually invited to try out for the US Sledge Hockey team in 2005. Having competed in both the Torino and Vancouver Games, Chace is the most experienced Paralympian on the hockey team. He was named Paralympic sportsman of the year 2010, served as captain of his team in 2011-12 and 12-13. He has a degree from UNH in sports studies and works as a strength and conditioning specialist with Northeast Passages.
Josh Pauls – Pauls was the youngest member of the sledge hockey team as a 17 year old in Vancouver where the US won gold. He was born without tibia in both legs and had them amputated at ten years old. He earned the name Spuds because he is superstitious and faces a Mr. Potatohead toward the opposing team’s locker room at each game. He’ll also be rocking a mullet under his helmet. If you watched “Ice Warriors” he seems to be a bit of a class clown, though quite accomplished on the ice. Pauls is pursuing his degree in sports management with hopes of becoming a hockey coach.
Tatyana McFadden – Am I allowed to have favorites because she is totally it for me. I LOVED watching her race in London where she competed with her sister Hannah. Yes, this is the Winter Games but McFadden is a 10 time Paralympic medalist in track and field, making her the most decorated athlete at the Games. She’s the first person to win all four major marathons in the wheelchair division(London, Boston, Chicago, NYC) in the same year. She’s earned the nickname “The Beast” because she’s so strong. McFadden will be competing in the Biathlon and Cross Country events this time around.
Evan Strong, Mike Shea, Amy Purdy, and Heidi Jo Duce are top ranking snowboarders. Lindsay Ball is an alpine skier from Maine who graduated from UMaine Farmington and Tyler Walker is an alpine skier from New Hampshire who graduated from UNH. Heath Calhoun carried the Paralympic flag during the Vancouver Games. He served in the army in Iraq, was injured there, and later became involved with the Wounded Warrior Project. He’ll be serving his country again as an alpine skier.
Brody Roybal and Declan Farmer are the youngest on Team USA at 15 and 16 respectively. They’re playing hockey together. Tyler Carron and Nikko Landeros have been friends and teammates since grade school. They were injured in the same accident, recovered together, and are now competing together on the hockey team. Steve Cash is the hockey goalie who stopped all 33 shots and did not allow a single goal during five contests in the Vancouver Paralympic Games.