Jessica Heims competes at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 29, 2021 in Tokyo.
TOKYO — Jessica Heims set a new American record at her only event at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. The 22-year-old from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, threw a 34.89 in the women’s discus throw T64 in her second Paralympic Games.
Despite landing off the podium Sunday morning to finish fifth, it was her fourth throw in the finals that would give her the honor of being the top T64 thrower —finishing just below four F44 class athletes.
When she last competed in a Games, the two classes were separate. In Rio, her 25.98 earned her eighth in her F64 class. But now, with the two combined, she would have to settle for fifth.
“I’m not mad [at that],” she said about setting a new American record in Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.
The morning session of day three left Heims feeling “pretty wiped.” But with her competition behind her, she said she was “ready to sit down and just cheer on my teammates for the rest of the week.”
With Tokyo being a Games that was questionable whether it would even happen, the University of Northern Iowa biology student said the experience has been humbling.
“Finally, being in this country — trying to give my gratitude back to the hosts — it’s been great,” she said. “It’s a blessing.”
Heims made her U.S. debut back in 2015, where she has had the support of her friends and family behind her the entire way.
“Thank you,” she exclaimed after being asked if she had anything to say to her cheering squad back home. “If I say anything more, I’ll probably start crying. [Laughing]”