Athletes wish their dads a Happy Father's Day

By Annemarie Blanco | June 21, 2015, 8:30 a.m. (ET)

It’s not always an easy journey to athletic excellence. For many athletes, the support system of a parent is a guiding force into achieving what may seem like the impossible. In celebration of Father’s Day, Paralympic athletes share some of their favorite moments with the main man in their lives. 

Paralympic Para-triathlete Chris Hammer pictured with Kenny and Kathy Hammer 

The best advice my dad ever gave me was... “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right. This advice helped me become not only a more dedicated athlete, but a better man as well.  If I am going to train to represent the United States in the triathlon at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, I am going to train the right way and do everything in my power to be the best that I can be on race day.  As my dad would often tell me before big races, as long as I know that I have done everything that I can do and left everything on the course, then I can’t have any regrets.”

Paralympic athlete Heidi Jo Duce, alongside Steve Duce 

Contributed Photo

I love spending time with my dad because... “My dad’s name is Steve and he is one of the most amazing people on the planet. There is no way I would be where I am today without his strength or support. My favorite sport memory with my dad is getting to go hunting with him, just the two of us. Not only when I was just a kid, but every Fall since I can remember. I love my dad, he is my rock.”

Para-cyclist Jamie Whitmore pictured with Clyde Whitmore  

The best lesson my dad has taught me is... “If you want something in life, pray about it. If it's God's plan then work hard for it and never give up. My dad has always been at my races. He has helped me train and when I was in high school he used to ride a bike alongside me while I ran. But, one of my favorite moments with him starts with a bet we made at the beginning of 2004. He said if I won the Xterra World Championships, then he would train to compete for Xterra Siapan, his first Xterra. I won that year and after hugging him at the finish line, I told him he better start training!" 

Paralympic Track and Field athlete Lacey Jai Henderson, alongside T.J. Henderson 

My favorite sport memory with my dad would have to be.... "The 2013 U.S. Paralympic National Championships when he was still coaching me in the 100m and long jump.  During my last jump, I broke the 16 year long American Record. We are Italian, so we were all jumping, screaming and crying just from excitement and celebrating the year of hard work. It also resulted in me making my first World Championships Team. My dad is the reason why I pursue my Paralympic dream. He understands and encourages me to do everything that is humanly possible to achieve my goals in my athletic career. I love him more than I can even comprehend.”