COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, today announced that 22 athletes have been added to the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team that will compete in the upcoming Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Sept. 7-Sept. 18. The 289-member team includes nine guides and pilots for visually-impaired athletes.
In addition to the 22 new athletes joining the team, Cassie Mitchell, who was previously named to the team in track & field, was awarded a slot in swimming. She will compete in both sports in Rio.
The additions to the U.S. roster come after the Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed the suspension of NPC Russia. All 267 qualification slots previously held by NPC Russia were returned to the IPC for redistribution.
The team added four military veterans and one active duty service member to the roster, bringing the total count to 35 military veterans and active duty service members.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will be the largest edition of the Games yet, with an estimated 4,350 participating athletes. Athletes from more than 176 countries will compete in 528 medal events in Rio.
The 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team roster may still be adjusted due to injury, illness or exceptional circumstances until the technical meetings for each sport.
2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Notes
- At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Team USA claimed a total of 98 medals. Among the members of the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team are 14 reigning Paralympic champions, and 18 athletes who won multiple medals in London, including swimmer Jessica Long (five gold, two silver, one bronze) and track & field athletes Raymond Martin (four gold) and Tatyana McFadden (three gold, one bronze).
- Swimmer McClain Hermes, who turned 15 in January, is the youngest member of the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team. The oldest member of the team is 64-year-old sailor Dee Smith.
- Cyclist Allison Jones has the most Games experience with this being her eighth Paralympic Games, goalball athlete Jen Armbruster is making her seventh Games appearance, and six athletes are competing in their fifth Games. In total, 127 athletes have prior Games experience, while 161 are making their Paralympic debut.
- Swimmer Jessica Long is the most decorated athlete with 17 Paralympic medals, with Tatyana McFadden owning 11 medals. In total, there are 69 Paralympic medalists on the team.
- There are 35 military athletes on the team, four continue to serve on active duty in the U.S. Army: shooters John Joss and Shaun Tichenor, swimmer Elizabeth Marks and archer Michael Lukow. The Army has the largest representation with 23 athletes, with seven athletes having served in the Marine Corps, three in the Navy and one in the Air Force. Triathlete Krige Schabort served in the South African Army.
- Twenty-two athletes were born outside of the U.S., with birthplaces in Albania, Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan and Ukraine.
- Team USA’s athletes call 43 states and Washington, D.C. home. California has the most representation with 33 athletes, while Washington is the second-most represented states with 17 athletes.
- There is a 43-inch difference in height between the tallest and shortest member of Team USA. High jumper Roderick Townsend is 6’ 7”, while wheelchair basketball player Trevon Jenifer is 3’ tall.
- In the track & field competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the United States will be represented by 76 athletes, including four guide athletes, making it the largest sport delegation for Team USA.
- Three athletes will compete in more than one sport. Grace Norman and Allysa Seely will pull double duty as they compete in both paratriathlon and track & field. Cassie Mitchell will compete in track & field and swimming.
- Oksana Masters and Alana Nichols are both competing in their third Paralympic sport in Rio. Masters is competing in cycling after previously medaling in rowing and Nordic skiing, while Nichols will make her paracanoe debut after winning gold in wheelchair basketball and alpine skiing.
Visit USParalympics.org/Rio2016 for more information on Team USA at the Paralympic Games, including athlete bios, team history and links to competition schedules. Follow the U.S. Paralympic team on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.