Six Things About The 2019 Parapan American Games That Athletes Are Most Excited For

By Melissa Zhang | Aug. 06, 2019, 3:24 p.m. (ET)

From competing against athletes from different countries, to trying out new foods in a new place, there is plenty to look forward to at an international competition. The athletes representing Team USA at Lima 2019 range significantly, with some about to experience their first Parapan American Games, to others returning for their third or fourth. Hear directly from athletes on what they're most excited for at the 2019 Parapan American Games:

Alyssa Gialamas, swimming
Alyssa Gialamas competes at the 2019 Para Swimming World Series stop in Indianapolis.
I’m most excited to compete and swim fast in Lima. Another aspect that I'm excited about is to spend time in the Paralympic Village again, because there is an awesome energy to be around some of the best athletes in the world. Especially during the year prior to the Paralympics, the Parapan American Games are a great building block leading up to the Paralympic Games in 2020! 

Brandon Lyons, cycling
Brandon Lyons pictured racing in the men's handcycle division of the  UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in the relay race.
With the 2019 Parapan American Games just weeks away, I am most excited for the opportunity to experience a “Games” like atmosphere in preparation for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and future Games. With this being my first quad, I do not have any prior Games experience to look back on. Lima will provide me the opportunity to learn how to handle logistical issues, training challenges, nutrition strategies, and manage various distractions from other athletes and events, while maintaining a high level of performance. Lastly, I’m looking forward to using my experience at Lima to build on my current fitness ahead of the world championships in September in Emmen, Netherlands.

Dana Mathewson, wheelchair tennis
Dana Mathewson serves a ball at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
I’m most looking forward to competing in my very first Parapan American Games. I think there’s an extra adrenaline rush and sense of honor when you get to compete for your country and I’m excited to get to do that in Peru - a place I’ve never played tennis before! Aside from that, I’m also excited to meet new athletes, and hopefully get some more great match experience leading up to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. 

David Garza, soccer
David Garza competing on behalf of Team USA at the Parapan American Games Toronto 2015.
What I'm looking forward to is competing in my second-ever Parapan American Games, alongside not only my fellow Para 7 a-side soccer teammates but also with all Team USA athletes! Representing my country while currently serving in the United States Army has been nothing less then a dream come true. It's a privilege to represent my country by playing the game I love in what I consider a “mini Paralympics”. As a Spanish-speaking American, I couldn’t be more excited to compete in an amazing host country that loves soccer like no other, which is why my heart races in the best way possible to know l will finally be able to play the beautiful game in Peru.

Deja Young, track
Deja Young is pictured running in the 100-meters at the 2018 Desert Challenge Games in Tempe, Arizona.
I’m really looking forward to competing internationally. I’m really excited to get things geared up for world championships and Parapans is one of the first steps. I also enjoy seeing my competitors from different countries. This is my first Parapan American Games so I’m excited to make this one special!  

Jorge Sanchez, wheelchair basketball
The men's wheelchair basketball team trains at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
I am super excited to travel to Peru with my team and start competing. I am most looking forward to achieving our goals of winning gold and qualifying for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. This is my first Parapan games and I am pumped to experience the Paralympic Village and enjoy the ceremonies. Socially, I’m looking forward to building relationships with fellow Team USA athletes and others from different countries that will last a lifetime. This will be an experience I will cherish forever. Go Team USA!!