Five gold-medal-winning athletes are up for Male Athlete of the Paralympic Games, presented by The Hartford.
Their performances were uniquely memorable. So how could you possibly decide among these fantastic five.
Let’s take a closer look at the incredible achievements and background of each athlete.
Then, to cast your vote, go to: www.TeamUSA.org/awards. Voting ends at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 23. Voting for the Team USA Awards is also being held for best female athlete and best team. Winners will be announced at the Team USA Awards, presented by Dow, later this month in Washington, D.C.
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Rio Accomplishments: Groulx medaled in all three events he entered in Rio, including winning the gold medal in the men’s H2 road race. He also won the silver medal in the H2 time trial and silver in the mixed team relay H2-5.
Why it Mattered: By winning a gold medal in Rio, Groulx became a Paralympic champion in two sports. He won a gold medal with the U.S. wheelchair rugby team at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. He is a four-time Paralympian.
Fun Fact: Before joining the U.S. Navy in 1995, Groulx was a men’s volleyball player at the University of Tennessee.
What’s Next: Before he begins training for his next para-cycling event, Groulx is back home in Portland with his wife, Amy, and their twin children, Grace and Will.
Sport: Wheelchair Basketball
Hometown: Westbury, New York
Rio Accomplishments: A team co-captain, Serio helped lead Team USA to the gold medal in wheelchair basketball. He scored 42 points, grabbed 23 rebounds and had 30 assists over the last three games combined.
Why it Mattered: Serio helped Team USA win its first gold medal in men’s wheelchair basketball since the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games.
Fun Fact: Serio began playing wheelchair basketball when he was just 14 years old and helped the Long Island Lightning juniors team to the national championships his last two years in high school.
What’s Next: After playing professionally in Germany, Serio plans to move back to New York and work on bringing more awareness to the benefits of wheelchair basketball.
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Rio Accomplishments: In his Paralympic debut, Shelby won the gold medal in the men’s W2 individual compound event.
Why it Mattered: Shelby, a U.S. Navy veteran of more than 18 years, entered the event as the No. 12 seed and was not considered a favorite.
Fun Fact: Shelby began competing in archery just three years ago. He is also a competitive hand cyclist.
What’s Next: More international tournaments for an archer who is ranked third in the world and also won gold at the 2015 Parapan American Games.
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Rio Accomplishments: Snyder, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, won three gold medals and a silver medal. In two Paralympic Games, he has won seven medals.
Why it Mattered: Brad defended his Paralympic Games titles in the men’s 400- and 100-meter freestyle races, and broke a 30-year-old record in the S11 100-meter freestyle with a time of 56.15 seconds.
Fun Fact: Snyder was captain of the U.S. Naval Academy swim team for the 2005-06 season.
What’s Next: Snyder travels the country as a motivational speaker.
Sport: Track and Field
Hometown: Stockton, California
Rio Accomplishments: A first-time Paralympian, Townsend won gold medals in the men‘s T47 long jump and high jump.
Why it Mattered: Townsend not only won gold medals in both events, but he set Paralympic records in both events.
Fun Fact: Townsend was team captain and defensive end in 2009 for the Lincoln High School football team in Stockton.
What’s Next: Townsend returns to Northern Arizona University, where he is the track team’s jump coach.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1990. He is Olympics editor and Assistant Sports Editor at the Cape Cod Times in Massachusetts. Bowker has written for TeamUSA.org since 2010 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.