Paralympians Grace Miller, Sydney Peterson, Kendall Gretsch and Dani Aravich try on clothes during the Team USA Welcome Experience ahead of the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 23, 2022 in Los Angeles.
The journey to the Paralympic Games starts long before the cameras start rolling.
We all know that.
But, officially speaking, the journey to the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 actually started earlier this week for the U.S. delegation.
Before heading across the Pacific, members of the 67-person U.S. team — plus coaches and other staff members — hopped off the plane at LAX for the Team USA Welcome Experience.
If you’re an athlete that means getting fitted by official outfitters Nike and Ralph Lauren with gear for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as — hopefully — the medal podium.
This is a time when the whole team comes together and really starts bonding. For many of the athletes — especially the 28 making their Paralympic debuts next month — the official gear pickup is often when it starts to feel real: I’m a Paralympian.
Following a newer addition to the team processing agenda, COVID testing, the delegation headed back to LAX for a charter flight on Delta Airlines. Wheels went up on Friday, with one week to spare before the Opening Ceremony on March 4.
The welcome experience is a special time for Team USA athletes.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Rico Roman, a veteran of both the U.S. sled hockey team and the U.S. Army, shared a behind-the-scenes look at the whole welcome experience. He’s headed to his third Winter Games in Beijing.
Cross-country skier Grace Miller, headed to her second Paralympic Winter Games, put together her own compilation of the experience.
And Brenna Huckaby, a two-time Paralympic champion in snowboarding in 2018, shared a short vlog showcasing all of her gear.
Here’s a look at some of the other Team USA stars going through processing and getting ready to take off for Beijing: