Q&A: U.S. Paralympic Men’s Triathlon Team

By Cassandra Johnson | Sept. 09, 2016, 1:32 p.m. (ET)

Krige Schabort

With less than 24 hours to go before triathlon debuts in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games, the U.S. Men’s Paralympic Triathlon Team is ready to race. These three athletes, who have all represented the U.S. at Paralympic Games in other sports, share who helps them on their journey and how they spend their time when they aren’t training or racing.

USA Triathlon: Who has been instrumental in your athletic career?
Chris Hammer:
I wouldn't have gotten into sports if it wasn't for my parents. Despite having one hand, my parents never gave me special treatment or let me use that as an excuse. My wife has been incredibly supportive, because you can't train and travel like I do without a supportive wife. And all of my coaches from high school and college through post-collegiate have all been essential every step of the way.

USAT: Do you have any pre-race rituals?
Krige Schabort:
Deep-deep breathing, 3-5 times every 15 minutes.

USAT: What’s a typical day like for you?
Mark Barr:
I’m an RN in the Trauma Surgical ICU, which means three days of the week are 12-hour shifts at work, followed by a swim, bike, run or strength session.  My days off of work I will get all three disciplines in ranging from 3-5 hours total.

USAT: Do you have any hidden talents?
I have three hidden talents. Tetris. I am better at Tetris than I am at anything else in the world. Eating. My name is on a wall in Rockford, Michigan, for eating chili dogs. I also ate 24 scrambled eggs in 25 minutes on a dare. I also used to be pretty good at making monkey noises, although I'm not sure if I still have that talent.

Chris HammerUSAT: What does a typical training day look like for you?
Wake up, coffee for Caron and me, kids to school. Then we clean up and start the day.

USAT: Who inspires you?
JP Theberge in his early 40s and Jamie Brown in his late 30s, both below the knee amputees in an extremely tough category, PT4, who refuse to let the new classification system deter them from training and competing at the highest level of our sport.  I have a great deal of respect and admiration for their tenacity.

USAT: What would people be surprised to learn about your training?
Most people are just surprised to learn that I am juggling so many different responsibilities at once: full-time student, graduate assistant, teaching classes, training full-time, and watching a baby while my wife works four days a week.

USAT: What are your favorite hobbies?
I am proud of my nest and love doing home improvements. The same with camping; it should look like a town. We have a boat and often take the kids skiing. Surfing was my sport when I grew up and still have the love for it when we get to Hawaii.

USAT: What are you looking forward to in Rio outside of your race?
Watching the other paratriathlon races. Hopefully I can make it over to the swimming venue and see some of my old teammates compete too.

Find more coverage on the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games at usatriathlon.org/rio2016.