Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 130 lbs
Sponsors: FinnSisu Ski Sho
Kelly Underkofler was born without the lower part of her left arm, but determination earned her a Nordic World Cup finish in her first racing trip to Europe, earning her a place on the 2002 Paralympic Team.
Kelly played soccer and ran track in high school but it was not until she met U.S. Disabled Nordic Coach Jon Kreamelmeyer that she focused on Paralympic cross country skiing. Kelly has cross country skied since the age four and raced in high school before joining the U.S. Paralympic Team in 2001.
After graduating from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN the spring of 2005 Underkofler began training full-time for the first time in her life, having spent six years balancing academics and the US team during high school and college.
A member of the 2006 Nordic Paralympic Ski Team, Kelly competed in six different Nordic events, including Biathlon, at the Winter Paralympic Games in Torino, Italy. In Torino, Underkofler placed 4th in the long distance biathlon, 7th in short distance biathlon, 7th in Nordic team relay, 8th in the 5K freestyle, 9th in the 10K classic and 10th in the 15K freestyle.
In 2006-2007, as a member of the US Disabled Nordic ski team she was living and working in Trondheim, Norway while training with Norwegian National team skiers in preparation for the upcoming season. Returning in January 2007 for the US Nationals to defend her national title, she then headed back to Vuokatti, Finland in January for the first of five series of 2007 IPC World Cup races. Underkofler finished her season at the World Cup Final in Mt. Washington, British Columbia with a 4th in the sprint race, 3rd in the 7.5K biathlon and 2nd in the 12.5K biathlon. She had a very successful season and was third place overall in the world for Biathlon.
Underkofler’s focus on achieving success by maximizing her abilities embodies The Hartford’s message: The sky’s the limit when we focus on an individual’s abilities, instead of his or her perceived physical limitation. Through its founding sponsorship of U.S. Paralympics®, The Hartford is helping to positively change public attitudes and perceptions about disability.