Chuck Aoki poses for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympics shoot on Nov. 19, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.
Chuck Aoki has been called the heart and soul of the U.S. Paralympic men’s wheelchair rugby team.
But after winning his third Paralympic medal two months ago in Tokyo, his heart and his soul now have a different commitment.
Aoki, one of two U.S. flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony in Tokyo, announced on Instagram on Saturday that he became engaged to girlfriend Liz Gregory.
“So I did a thing yesterday...and the best thing in my life just got even better,” the 30-year-old said in the post, accompanied by “#MrsAoki #engaged.” The accompanying photo had Aoki smiling ear-to-ear and Gregory also smiling and flashing her new bling.
Aoki, who lives in Kerrville, Texas, made the announcement from Denver, where he had posted four days prior that he got back into the gym for the first time since the Tokyo Paralympics.
“I'm certainly not quite ready to play for another medal today-but today is the first step heading towards that goal, if that's where life takes me,” Aoki said in the post.
Aoki, a world champion in 2010, won his second straight Paralympic silver to go along with a bronze won in 2012. He almost wasn’t available to participate in the Tokyo Paralympics following a battle with a severe infection in his right knee that moved up into his femur and required multiple surgeries.
“Am I even going to be able to compete?” he told Sports Illustrated about what he thought to himself while in the hospital.
He did compete and won a third medal. But for the moment, he isn’t thinking about medals, just the ring on Gregory’s finger.