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Celebrating Team USA’s Top 10 Paralympic Moments Of The 2010s

By Stuart Lieberman | Dec. 27, 2019, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

 

The last decade was full of plenty of highs for Team USA athletes on the Paralympic Games stage, as golden moments were created, world records were broken and tears of joy were shed.

Team USA competed in five Paralympic Games over the past 10 years, three Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Sochi and PyeongChang and two Summer Games in London and Rio. It won 280 medals, 90 of them gold.

Among many choices, here is a look back at 10 of the top Paralympic Games moments of the 2010s—in no particular order.

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Sled Hockey Team Completes Hat Trick Of Gold Medals

Team USA won gold in sled hockey at the Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games to complete an unprecedented three-peat. In Vancouver, the U.S. did not surrender a single goal while posting a perfect record and outscoring its opponents 19-0. The U.S. then became the first nation to win back-to-back Paralympic gold medals in the sport when defeating Russia in the gold-medal game in Sochi, before going on to capture a third gold in an overtime thriller of a final against Canada in PyeongChang.

 

Brad Snyder Goes From Battlefield To Atop Paralympic Podium

What a difference one year made for U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder. On Sept. 7, 2012, one year to the day after losing his sight when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan, he swam for a Paralympic gold medal. He won the 400-meter freestyle S11 final, his third medal of the London 2012 Games. He now has seven Paralympic medals to his name.

 

Dartanyon Crockett Surprises Everyone With Judo MedalDartanyon Crockett

Just two years after taking up judo, Dartanyon Crockett, who had progressive vision loss, shocked the world by winning a bronze medal at the London 2012 Games. The sport helped Crockett overcome a tough life; his mother died when he was 8 years old and his father battled substance abuse.

 

“Three Amigos” Capture Snowboarding Podium Sweep

The “Three Amigos” from Team USA — Evan Strong, Mike Shea and Keith Gabel — swept the podium in snowboarding’s debut at the Sochi 2014 Games. The trio of below-the-leg amputees was led by Strong, who claimed the first gold medal for the U.S. in Sochi 10 years after being injured in a motorcycle accident.

 

Team USA Sweeps Women’s Paratriathlon In Paralympic DebutParatriathlete Allysa Seely competes at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

On the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. swept the podium in the women’s paratriathlon PT2 competition at Copacabana Beach in Rio, where the sport made its Paralympic Games debut in 2016. Allysa Seely claimed gold in 1:22.55, and Hailey Danisewicz (now Danz), the first U.S. triathlete to qualify for a Paralympics crossed the line second. The pair then awaited third-place finisher Melissa Stockwell, the first female American soldier in history to lose a limb in active combat.

 

Wheelchair Basketball Dominant In 2016Men's players pictured celebrating on the basketball court after winning gold at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

For the first time in 28 years, both the men’s and women’s U.S. wheelchair basketball teams won gold at the same Paralympic Games in 2016. Fueled by co-captain Steve Serio, who had 42 points, 23 rebounds and 30 assists in his team’s final three games, the U.S. men went undefeated in the tournament to claim their eighth overall Paralympic title and first since the Seoul 1988 Games. The U.S. women were powered by three-time Paralympian Becca Murray’s 24.1 points per game and also went undefeated, beating reigning Paralympic champion Germany in the gold-medal game.

 

Fighting Illini Teammates Finish Two “McSweeps” In 2016

U.S. wheelchair racers and University of Illinois teammates Tatyana McFadden, Amanda McGrory and Chelsea McClammer completed two “McSweeps” at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, claiming all three spots on the podium in both the women’s 1,500- and 5,000-meter T54 events. McFadden, who completed a marathon grand slam for the first time earlier in the decade, won gold in both events.

 

Andre Shelby Completes Cinderella Archery Run In 2016

U.S. Navy veteran Andre Shelby pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Rio, climbing from a 12th seed in the archery bracket to claim gold in the men’s individual compound open event. At age 49, and with just three years of competitive archery under his belt, the first African American to compete in archery at the Paralympic Games pulled out comeback wins in his quarterfinal, semifinal and final matches to cap a surprising performance on the range.

 

U.S. Sitting Volleyball Team Reverses Curse Against China

Heading into the 2016 Games, China had won every single Paralympic title in women’s sitting volleyball since the sport was added to the program for the Athens 2004 Games, defeating Team USA in two of the three finals. But in Rio, the tables were turned, with the Americans taking gold over the heavy favorites in dominating fashion, winning the gold-medal match in straight sets.

 

U.S. Nordic Ski Team Puts Up Best Paralympic Performance

The U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team had its best Paralympic performance ever in 2018, taking home 16 medals, clearly outperforming its previous highest medal total of five. Dan Cnossen and Kendall Gretsch became the first Americans to win biathlon gold at any Olympic or Paralympic Games. Cnossen left Korea with six medals, while Oksana Masters claimed five. Gretsch and Andy Soule each added two—including Soule’s impressive come-from-behind cross-country victory—while Jake Adicoff and guide Sawyer Kesselheim earned one.

 

Stuart Lieberman covered Paralympic sports for three years at the International Paralympic Committee, including at the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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