(L) Joey Brinson competing in a wheelchair fencing event at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Joey Brinson, a former national champion in wheelchair fencing who competed at the Paralympic Games London 2012 and Rio 2016, died early Friday morning.
Brinson, from Florence, Mississippi, competed in epee, foil and saber fencing during this time with Team USA and was at one point ranked in the top five in the U.S. and the top 25 in the world in all three disciplines.
Growing up, Brinson played football, soccer, baseball and ran track until a car accident at the age of 17 left him a paraplegic. He took up wheelchair fencing in 2006 after going to a clinic on the sport and five years later finished third in both epee and saber at the national championships, then won silver in foil and bronze in saber at the Pan American Wheelchair Championships.
At his Paralympic debut in London, he finished 14th in saber. The next year he finished eighth in saber at the world championships and was second in epee and foil in nationals. He won the epee national title in 2015.
In 2016, Brinson won silver at the Pan American Wheelchair Championships but just missed the gold he needed in order to qualify for Rio. However, after the International Paralympic Committee suspended Russia the U.S. received a reallocated slot in fencing and the IPC selected Brinson, who was ranked No. 1 in the country and No. 17 in the world in saber at the time. Brinson learned of the invite a day after his 40th birthday. He went on to finish fifth at the Games.