Classification: S8/SB7/SM7 (swimming), T42 (track and field)
Hometown: Bloomington, Calif.
Current Residence: Colorado Springs, Colo.
- 2012 Paralympic Games, gold (200m IM)
- 2008 Paralympic Games, gold (200m IM), bronze (100m breaststroke)
- 2004 Paralympic Games, gold (200m IM)
- 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships, fourth (200m IM), sixth (100m breaststroke)
- 2010 IPC Swimming World Championships, gold (200m IM)
- 2009 Arizona Ironman Finisher
- 2006 IPC Swimming World Championships, gold (200 IM)
- 2015 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships, third (200m), sixth (long jump)
- 2013 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships, second (long jump)
- 2011 Parapan American Games, silver (100m)
Since his first Paralympic Games in 2004 at the age of 16, Rudy Garcia-Tolson has become an ambassador for Paralympic sport. Born with multiple birth defects, including Pterygium Syndrom, a club foot, webbed fingers and a cleft lip and palate, Tolson endured 15 surgeries by the age of five before telling his parents he'd rather have a double leg amputation. By age 8, he had already become active in swimming, running and triathlons. At that age, he stated that he wanted to compete at the Paralympic Games and eight years later, he made good on his promise when he swam to gold at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. Since then, Tolson has added more Paralympic medals to his collection and accomplished more in his career, including becoming the world's first double above-knee amputee to complete an Ironman triathlon in 2009. He has been featured on numerous media publications and television shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, The New York Times, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and was named as one of People Magazine's “20 Teens Who Will Change the World.” Tolson has won several awards, including the ESPN's ARETE Courage in Sports Award, Nike's Casey Martin Award and was nominated for an ESPY. He continues to make an impact in his community through his work with the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) and as a motivational speaker, sharing his message that “A brave heart is a powerful weapon.”
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