20 Athletes To Watch For Tokyo 2020

By U.S. Paralympics | Aug. 24, 2018, 5 p.m. (ET)

As the two-year countdown to the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 begins, here are a mix of 20 U.S. Paralympians and newcomers to keep up with as they work to represent Team USA in Tokyo.

1) Chuck Aoki, Wheelchair Rugby

He’s Team USA’s top scorer, and he already has a bronze and silver medal to his name. Look for Aoki to lead the team in the quest for their first gold medal since 2008.

2) Ryan Boyle, Cycling

Ryan Boyle had a dominating performance at the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, taking home the world title in both the MT2 time trial and road race. He improved from his Paralympic silver medal and world championships silver medal in the time trial. 

 
3) McKenna Dahl, Shooting
Rio 2

Dahl made history in Rio by becoming the first U.S. woman to win a Paralympic medal in shooting as she took bronze in the R5 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2) event. Dahl was only 20 in Rio and has been living and training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs since 2014.

4) Amanda Dennis, Goalball

Dennis was a key player on the 2016 team in Rio that won silver. Since 2016, the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes has partnered with Turnstone Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana to create a resident athlete program. With the team living and training together, they are looking poised for a return to the podium.

5) Kendall Gretsch, Paratriathlon

Coming off two gold medals in Nordic skiing at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Gretsch looks to make her Paralympic debut in paratriathlon since her classification (PTWC) was added to Tokyo’s program. In June, she won her second-straight national title to remain undefeated in her paratriathlon career. 

6) Robert Griswold, Swimming

Griswold, who claimed four medals at the 2017 world championships, looks to earn another podium finish in Tokyo after claiming a Paralympic bronze medal in the 100-meter backstroke in Rio. At the 2018 Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships, Griswold set three Pan American records and won four gold medals.

7) Will Groulx, Cycling

A four-time Paralympian in wheelchair rugby and cycling, Groulx looks to repeat as the Paralympic champion in the road race. He secured gold in the MH2 road race and the handcycle relay, as well as silver in the time trial, at the 2018 world championships. Groulx finished the 2018 cycling season with the overall world cup title in the MH2 class.

8) Dani Hansen, Rowing

Hansen has been a constant powerhouse in the PR3 mixed four with coxswain as the boat won silver at the 2014, 2015 and 2017 world championships and 2016 Paralympic Games. Hansen rowed collegiately at the University of Washington and helped coach the Huskies as an intern coach post-graduation.
 
9) Rose Hollerman, Wheelchair Basketball

Hollermann is only 22, but she’s the veteran of a young women’s wheelchair basketball team. Hollermann played is a two-time Paralympian and will be looking to lead the young team to a repeat of their 2016 gold-medal performance in Tokyo.

10) Isaac Jean-PaulTrack and Field

Jean-Paul is aiming to make his Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020. After competing in collegiate track and field, the newcomer has made his presence known in Paralympic sport. Over the last two seasons, he’s broken multiple world records in the men’s T13 high jump and won two world championship medals, including gold, in what was only his third competition with the team and first international trip. Though the high jump for his class isn’t included in the Tokyo 2020 program, he’s a world championship bronze medalist in the long jump and will be contending for the Paralympic podium in two years.


11) Jessica Long, Swimming

Already owning 13 Paralympic gold medals and 23 total medals, Long is eyeing her fifth Paralympic Games. At the 2017 world championships in Mexico City, she completed a sweep of her events, including six individual events and two relays, leaving her as the most decorated female at the world championships.

12) Kaleo 
Maclay, Sitting Volleyball

Maclay has had an exciting two years: gold in Rio, became a mother in 2017, and named best setter at the 2018 world championships. The women’s sitting volleyball team made history in Rio with their first Paralympic gold medal and will undoubtedly look to repeat the feat.

13) Becca Meyers, Swimming

Becca Meyers is at the top of the swimming world, having recently set a new world record in the S12 400-meter freestyle (4:24.30) at the 2018 Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships. The two-time Paralympian looks to win more medals in Tokyo to add to her six from London and Rio.


14) Shawn Morelli, Cycling

Always a force to be reckoned with on the road and track, Morelli looks to defend her two Paralympic gold medals in the road time trial and track pursuit. She most recently put on a show at the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, winning her fourth straight world title in the road race and third straight world title in the time trial. Morelli also secured the WC4 overall world cup title.

15) Daniel RomanchukTrack and Field

Romanchuk has made huge strides since his first taste of the Paralympic stage at age 18. Two years later, he’s become the man to beat in the men’s middle and distance T54 races. The Mount Airy-native heads into next season as the world record holder in the 800- and 5,000-meters and has his goals set on reaching the medal stand in Tokyo.
 

16) Allysa Seely, Paratriathlon

Seely added her name to the history books as she led a Team USA sweep to won gold in Rio in the sport’s debut. Since Rio she has joined the resident program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and is training alongside her closest competitor, silver medalist Hailey Danz.

17) Steve Serio, Wheelchair Basketball

He served as co-captain for the gold-medal winning team in 2016 and will lead the way as the men look to defend their Paralympic title. Serio and the team are currently playing in the world championships in Germany where they finished pool play undefeated. 


18) Nick Taylor, Wheelchair Tennis and Boccia

Taylor is half of the most dominant duo in quad doubles tennis. With partner David Wagner he has medaled in every single Games since the event was introduced in 2004. Taylor has recently taken up the sport of boccia and could look to become a two-sport athlete in Tokyo.

 

19) Hunter Woodhall, Track and Field
Hunter Woodhall Rio 2016

Entering his sophomore year at the University of Arkansas where he’s already earned First-Team All-American honors, Woodhall is no stranger to success on the Paralympic stage. In his Paralympic debut in Rio, the then-17-year-old came away with silver and bronze medals in the men’s T43 200 and 400-meters. Since then, he’s added two world championship silver medals to his resume and has his sights on his first Paralympic gold in 2020. 

20) Deja Young, Track and Field

Unstoppable since emerging on the scene in 2015, Young has no plans to slow down any time soon. The defending Paralympic champion and world title-holder in the women’s T46 100 and 200-meters, she’s proven that she’s the one to beat heading into Tokyo.