It took Alana Maldonado, a visually impaired judoka, five years to clinch gold at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Paralympics after winning a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Summer Paralympics.
Maldonado was so overjoyed at the win she made a vow not to remove the medal from her neck until she was reunited with her longtime girlfriend, Wedja Santos, a fellow Judoka.
Augustus Richard Kenworthy, an Olympic silver medal holder in the Men’s slopestyle, has gained a following as an athlete, actor, and YouTube personality. Kentworthy picked up his silver medal during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Publically coming out in 2015 during an ESPN interview, he sated he wanted to come out with an interview in a big platform, saying he hopes his coming out will help kids all over the world.
Kate O’Brien, an out gay Olympian and Paralympian, has seen the full gamut of the Olympics, having gone from being part of Team Canada in the track cycling division in the 2016 Rio Olympics and then the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
After her tire burst O’Brien suffered a collision while cycling at an outdoor track. The grim diagnosis that she would never cycle again gave her the motivation to endure and compete in the Paralympics as a paracyclist.
Mark, a competitive swimmer, bagged gold at the Barcelona ’92 Olympics in the one hundred-meter backstroke. In a startling sign of the times, Tewksbury famously recorded an interview about being a gay athlete by hiding his identity in fear of losing income.
As a result, he is now a champion for global gay rights and is even a recipient of the Order of Canada. A far cry from having to hide who he truly was all those decades ago.
Jen is one of the most well-known goalball players in the Paralympic circuit. Beginning her Paralympic career at the 1992 Barcelona ’92 Paralympics, Armbruster has helped her team score bronze, silver, and gold between 1996 and 2016 at the Paralympics.
A proud parent, Armbruster has four children with her wife Jackie. She lost her sight progressively, but that turned out to be for the best! She had intentions to follow in her father’s military footsteps but the loss of sight led her to sports instead.