NC's Madsen to compete at Tokyo
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee has announced the 240-member 2020 U.S. Paralympic team. Cheri Madsen of Nebraska City will compete for Team USA in Track and Field as a T54 classification at Tokyo, Japan.
Following the year-long postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Opening Ceremony will take place Tuesday, Aug. 24, with competition beginning Aug. 25 and concluding Sunday, Sept. 6.
Madsen joins 65 others on the track and field team. The track and field competition begins Friday, August 27.
Of the 240 members of Team USA, six are guides for visually impaired athletes. The 2020 U.S. roster features 129 returning Paralympians, including four six-time Paralympians, 10 five-time Paralympians, 14 four-time Paralympians and 105 athletes making their Paralympic debut. The delegation holds a collective 233 medals from 51 Paralympic champions.
The Paralympic program will feature 22 sports in contention, including the addition of badminton and taekwondo, which will make their debut in Tokyo. The third largest sporting event in the world, the Paralympic Games remains the world’s biggest event for driving social inclusion.
NBC Universal will showcase an unprecedented 1,200 hours of Paralympic programming of the Tokyo Games presented by Toyota including the network’s first-ever primetime broadcasts, more than 200 hours of TV coverage among NBC, NBCSN and the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, and over 1,000 hours of live streaming across 19 sports on NBC’s digital platforms. The coverage showcases the network’s continued commitment for the Paralympic Movement which has grown from 70 hours for Rio 2016 and 5.5 total hours for London 2012.
Team USA fans can follow the 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team at TeamUSA.org and across Team USA’s social channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. The U.S. Paralympic Team microsite will offer Team USA results from the Paralympic Games, as well as athlete biographies, sport previews, a history book, competition schedules, and facts and figures about the U.S. delegation.
Fans can continue to learn about the U.S. Paralympic team with Team USA’s “Show the World” campaign that launched in late June which aims to drive awareness of the Paralympic Movement while showcasing the elite competitive abilities of Team USA Paralympic athletes.
2020 U.S. Paralympic Team Facts
Forty-one states and the District of Columbia are represented on the U.S. roster, with California (25), Illinois (12), Arizona (11), Colorado (11), Minnesota (11), New York (11) and Washington (11) leading the way.
The 2020 roster includes 121 women and 113 men. Of the six guides, there are two women and four men.
There are 21 athletes who self-identify as military, including three active duty who continue to serve in the Army: shooters John Joss II and Kevin Nguyen, and swimmer Elizabeth Marks. The Army has the largest representation with 14 athletes, with four having served in the Navy, two in the Marine Corps and one in the Air Force.
Of the 241 U.S. athletes competing in Tokyo, more than 50% (122) has or will compete collegiately at 77 schools. 68 athletes are competing in varsity level athletics. Representation includes NCAA Divisions (I, II and III) and junior colleges.
Swimmer Keegan Knot and track athlete Ezra Frech are the youngest on the team at age 16, while fencer Terry Hayes will be competing at age 62. There are nine athletes under the age of 18.
Blake Haxton is the only athlete on the U.S. team who will compete in two sports - paracanoe and rowing.
Multi-season athletes Dani Aravich, Kendall Grestch, Oksana Masters and Aaron Pike are simultaneously seeking a spot to compete at the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 in Para Nordic skiing.
Track and field holds the largest sport delegation for Team USA with 62 athletes and two guides.
Six of eight possible U.S. team sports in Tokyo earned podium appearances at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. Three team sports come to Tokyo as reigning Paralympic champions - women’s wheelchair basketball, men’s wheelchair basketball and women’s sitting volleyball.
Four athletes will make their sixth Paralympic Games appearance in Tokyo - goalball athletes Asya Miller and Lisa Czechowski, table tennis athlete Tahl Leibovitz and wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden.
“At its core, the Paralympic Games represent inclusivity and the infinite possibility of sport,” said Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, following official selection of the team last week. “This group of athletes represents Team USA at their best. They are strong, resilient and ready to make you proud.”
The squad is led by 23-time Paralympic medalist Jessica Long (swimming) and 17-time medalist Tatyana McFadden (track and field) each looking to further etch their name in history. Additional American stars and multiple medalists include Para-cyclist Oksana Masters, wheelchair racer Cheri Madsen and wheelchair tennis athlete David Wagner with eight medals each. Wheelchair racers Amanda McGrory and Raymond Martin, and paratriathlete Brad Snyder will also head to Tokyo with seven previous Paralympic podium appearances.
“After an unparalleled year, our incredible roster of 234 athletes and six guides are ready to show the world the athleticism and determination of Team USA on the Tokyo stage,” said Julie Dussliere, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee chief of Paralympic sport. “We can’t wait to cheer them on as they live out their dreams in front of the nation and the globe.”