Athlete Testimonials

Learn firsthand how Team USA athletes have grown and developed through our country’s college sports system.

Jonathan Gore Concord University // Para track & field

Why did you choose your college, and what did you like most about being a student-athlete there?

"In 2012, my mom wanted me to see a local college just to get a feel of different schools because I didn’t really know what college I wanted to attend. The only thing that I really cared about was the school having a track program and the major I was trying to pursuit. So, we went to Concord University during my spring break, and the current admissions counselor (who is now the assistant dean of students) gave me the tour. The last stop of the tour was the athletic building and it just so happened that my college head, coach Mike Cox, came down. We introduced ourselves, and I told him I was interested in running track collegiately. However, when he left, the admissions counselor was telling us where the team traveled, and other things about the team including that he sees Coach Cox regularly running and doing workouts with the team. That sealed my decision as it showed me the Coach Cox would never make me do anything that he wouldn’t do himself.

One thing about Concord is that it is a small school in West Virginia with only about 3,000 students. I loved it there for many reasons - it was small, so we got to know our professors and they got to know us; it was a family atmosphere. But one thing that I loved the most about the team, back when I was completing my undergraduate degree and now as a coach and graduate student, is that we never considered ourselves a team instead we considered everyone as family."

How did competing collegiately help prepare you for competing on Team USA?

"The biggest thing that helped me prepare was working on my sprinters background. I train the same as I did in college with the only difference being the length of training. Also, I was taught true sprinter form in college. I have now been focused on relearning my sprinting form with slight adjustments with my blade."

How did (or will) going to college prepare you for life?

"The biggest thing that I learned in college was being more versatile and being able to adjust to things as they come. I went to a high school that didn’t teach me about running form, speed endurance, blocks, etc. Back then, we practiced for 45 mins. When I got to college, I had to go back to step one in sprint technique while also being a long jumper. Because of this, I had to learn how to balance my sprint training and my jump training in order to achieve my best in both disciplines. This is one of the things that is helping me now. It first helped me when I lost my leg six months after I graduated college in 2018 and getting used to my ‘new normal. Currently the preparation is helping me since I have been training for the Paralympics. I am also a full-time graduate student at Concord University and working on my master’s degree in health promotion, and on the coaching staff for long jump and sprints."