Trischa Zorn inducted into Paralympic Hall of Fame
LONDON - Former American Paralympic swimmer Trischa Zorn-Hudson today received the highest honor a Paralympic athlete can attain as she was inducted into the Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the BT Centre in London.
Zorn-Hudson, 48, who was born legally blind, retired from competitive swimming in 2004 as the most decorated Paralympian of all time. The seven-time Paralympian won an incredible 55 medals, including 41 gold, nine silver and five bronze.
Zorn-Hudson’s athletic accomplishments were certainly noted throughout the ceremony but another, and perhaps more significant theme of the ceremony was the incredible mark Zorn-Hudson left on the entire Paralympic movement.
Former American Paralympian and fellow Hall of Fame member, Chris Waddell, who hosted today’s ceremony, was quick to point that out.
“Trischa is one of those landmark athletes, she was so dominant that she defined the sport and in many ways defined the Paralympics.”
Zorn-Hudson, who admitted she does not like being on stage was quick to divert the attention from herself and instead gave praise to those who helped her along the way, including the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and U.S. Paralympics.
“I want to thank the IPC and U.S. Paralympics because without them I wouldn’t be here today,” stated an emotional Zorn-Hudson. “The IPC and U.S. Paralympics have really inspired me, not just in the pool but in my professional life as well.”
She went on to discuss how her Paralympic experiences and her job with the Department of Veterans Affairs have enabled her to mentor others with disabilities including wounded American servicemen and women returning home. She noted that one of the best things for her has been drawing on her experiences to educate and motivate disabled veterans to dream big and take advantage of the opportunities available to them.
“I see people who come back with injuries and it really inspires me to make them appreciate what they have and make to them understand that whatever you set your mind to you can do. U.S. Paralympics and the IPC have really made that possible for everyone.”
Zorn-Hudson, who became the first American woman inducted into the Hall of Fame, was joined in this year’s class by British swimmer Chris Holmes, Australian wheelchair racer Louise Sauvage, late Italian wheelchair fencer and swimmer Roberto Marson and late Australian coach Frank Ponta.
Each inductee was presented a plaque as well as a set of pins from the previous six Paralympic Games by International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven who oversaw the Hall of Fame selection process.
To be considered for nomination into the IPC Hall of Fame athletes must have competed in at least two Paralympic Games and retired from competition since the previous Paralympic Games. As each induction ceremony coincides with the Paralympics, only summer sport athletes were considered.
This year’s nomination process differed from the previous three as it was the first time the public could participate. In addition to the nearly 200 members of the Paralympic family nominating athletes, the public could nominate athletes via www.paralympic.org. From there, nominees were reviewed and narrowed down by the IPC before being confirmed by the IPC governing board.
It was a process Zorn-Hudson feels actually makes her induction into the Hall of Fame even more special.
“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is just amazing,” noted Zorn-Hudson. “To be put on notice by your peers that they do care about your accomplishments really has an impact and has taken things to a whole other level for me.”