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Meet The 7 U.S. Paralympic Teams Looking To Defend Their Rio Medals In Tokyo

By Sheridan Powell | June 24, 2020, 12:39 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. men's goalball team celebrate wining silver at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016 on Sept. 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.The U.S. men's goalball team celebrate wining silver at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016 on Sept. 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.


As we relive some of the best moments from the Paralympic Games Rio 2016 on NBCSN this week, eyes are still set on Tokyo. Check out seven teams from Rio to watch for in the upcoming Tokyo Paralympic Games. 

Relive all the spectacular moments from Rio 2016 June 24th and 25th at 7p.m. ET on NBCSN. 

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Men’s Goalball
Joseph Hamilton, Tyler Merren and John Kusku of United States in action during a Men's Goalball match in Rio.

After failing to qualify for the Paralympic Games London 2012, the men’s goalball team came back fighting in Rio. They made it all the way to the gold medal match, where they faced off against Lithuania, a team that has finished on the podium in the last four Paralympic Games. The men earned silver, making the U.S. the only nation with two teams on the goalball podium at the 2016 Games. A team that was considered young in Rio - with three first-time Paralympians and a new assistant coach - hopes to enter the Tokyo games with a little more experience under their belts. 

Women’s Goalball
The U.S. Women's Goalball team celebrates winning the gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

The women’s goalball team entered the Paralympic Games Rio 2016 hungry for redemption. They were eliminated in the quarterfinals four years earlier, failing to reach the podium. The team earned its sixth Paralympic medal in Rio, walking away with the bronze. They will look to continue to climb the podium in Tokyo next summer.

Mixed Coxswain Rowing
The U.S. PR3 Mixed Coxswain Rowing Team competes at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

The U.S. took home the silver medal in legs, trunk and arms four with coxswain rowing at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. Prior to the Games, the team finished silver in the event at the last two world championships. They cited their sixth place finish at the Paralympic Games London 2012 as their motivation before the 2016 Games, where they finished only behind rivals Great Britain. The rowing team hopes to carry that same motivation into the Tokyo Games and capture the gold. 

Women’s Sitting Volleyball
Members of the 2016 Women's Sitting Volleyball team celebrate after winning the gold medal in Rio.

The Paralympic Games Rio 2016 were historic for the women’s sitting volleyball team. They earned their first-ever gold medal in the sport, after previously winning the silver in both 2012 and 2008. The team will look to defend their gold in Tokyo next summer. 

Men’s Wheelchair Basketball
Matt Scott of USA celebrates winning the gold medal in men's wheelchair basketball on September 17, 2016 in Rio.

It had been 28 years since the men’s wheelchair basketball team had earned their last gold medal. But in 2016, they did just that. During the nearly three-decade long fight for the elusive gold, the team earned bronze in 2012, but missed the podium in 2008. They finalized their comeback with a victory over Spain. With that feat, the U.S. became the first country to win double golds in wheelchair basketball since Canada in 2000. The men will look to protect their spot atop the podium in 2021 in Tokyo. 

Men’s Wheelchair Rugby 
The 2016 Men's Wheelchair Rugby team celebrates during the gold medal match at the Rio Paralympic Games.

The men’s rugby team is approaching the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 with something to prove, after a heartbreaking loss at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. Called by many the “greatest game of rugby ever played,” the U.S. took Australia to double overtime, losing by just a single point. The team has reached the podium in every Games since the introduction of the sport in 2000 - earning two gold medals and two bronze medals. 

Women’s Wheelchair Basketball
The U.S. Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team celebrates winning the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

The 2016 women’s wheelchair basketball team reclaimed its spot atop the podium, earning its third gold medal in four Paralympic Game appearances. They fended off Germany, the defending gold-medalists, in a dominating fashion with a final score of 62-45. The team hopes to carry the momentum into the Tokyo Games.