Name: Kelly Elmlinger
Sport: Paratriathlon
Classification: PTS4
Birthdate: July 9, 
Hometown: Attica, Ohio
Current Residence: San Antonio, Texas
High School: Seneca East High School (Attica, Ohio)
College: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill '10, Nursing

Career Highlights

2021 Americas Triathlon Para Championships Pleasant Prairie gold medalist
2019 World Paratriathlon Championships silver medalist
5-time ITU World Paratriathlon Series medalist (3 golds, 2 silvers)
2019 Tokyo ITU Paratriathlon World Cup gold medalist
2018 Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Paratriathlon World Cup gold medalist
2018 USA Paratriathlon National Championships gold medalist
2018 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, 5th


As a sophomore in college, Kelly enlisted as an Army medic, and served ten years with the 82nd Airborne Division’s Combat Aviation Unit. She served three back-to-back deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. After that she was assigned to a special mission’s unit and, and at the same time, she earned her degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina. After graduation, she moved to Texas and became an avid runner. In 2013 she took a break from running after experiencing pain in her lower left leg. After a round of tests, she was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer. After several surgeries in an attempt to save her leg, she made the decision to have it amputated. Afterwards, she began to try various adaptive sports like running, rowing and swimming. She competed in the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon and the 2016 Boston Marathon in a racing wheelchair. Elmlinger’s first triathlon was three weeks before getting her first true running leg, after having the desire to get back into running and qualify for the USA Paratriathlon National Championships. Her favorite part of competing in triathlon is having the ability to represent the U.S a second time, as well as camaraderie from teammates and competitors. She has carried many of the skills she gained through her military service into her competitive triathlon career, such as having the ability to be a jack-of-all-trades, have multiple different skills and have the ability to stay calm under pressure. She enjoys framing competing in triathlons as something that is fun rather than being nervous about an outcome. She was named the 2018 USA Paratriathlon Developmental Athlete of the Year after winning the 2018 USA Paratriathlon National Championships in just her second triathlon since becoming an amputee. She has a daughter named Jayden who is her biggest motivator. She enjoys being able to shape her daughter’s perspective, and teach her that people with disabilities are able to accomplish the same things as everyone else. Elmlinger’s biggest talent outside of triathlon is cooking, and if she could choose another career, she would open a food truck.

Elite Triathlon Career

2021: Opened the season with back-to-back gold medals at the World Triathlon Para Series events in Yokohama, Japan, on May 15, and Leeds, England, on June 5 • Won the women's PTS4 division at the Americas Triathlon Para Championships Pleasant Prairie on June 27

Won the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI Paratriathlon American Championships on March 9 • Earned silver at the Milan ITU World Paratriathlon Series on April 27 • Won the Yokohama ITU World Paratriathlon Series on May 18 • Took home silver at the ITU World Paratriathlon Series Montreal on June 28 • Won gold at the Tokyo ITU Paratriathlon World Cup on Aug. 17 • Took silver at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Sept. 1

2018: Won the USA Paratriathlon National Championships on June 24 • Placed 5th at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Gold Coast on Sept. 15 • Earned gold at the Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Paratriathlon World Cup on Oct. 14