U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team Ready to Race at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
by USA Triathlon
TOKYO — Triathlon competition is ready to get underway at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, as 17 athletes representing Team USA will compete in seven categories across two days of racing at Odaiba Marine Park. Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ariz.), Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio), Hailey Danz (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Melissa Stockwell (Colorado Springs, Colo.), the U.S. medal winners from the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, will all race in Tokyo to defend their hardware.
Competition begins on Friday, Aug. 27 at 5:30 p.m. ET (Saturday, Aug. 28 at 6:30 a.m. Tokyo time) with the men’s PTS4 category, women’s PTS2 category and men’s and women’s PTVI categories.
The men’s and women’s PTWC category and men’s and women’s PTS5 category will race on Saturday, Aug. 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET (Sunday, Aug. 29 at 6:30 a.m. Tokyo time).
The races on both days will be broadcast live on the Olympic Channel and will also be available via livestream on the NBC Sports App and NBCOlympics.com.
The main venue for the Tokyo 2020 paratriathlon events is Odaiba Marine Park, a coastal tourist attraction with views of Tokyo’s iconic Rainbow Bridge. Athletes will cover a 750-meter swim in Tokyo Bay, followed by a 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run around the park and surrounding city streets. The conditions will be hot and humid even in the early morning, with air temperatures expected to reach the mid-80s Fahrenheit.
Seely, Danz and Stockwell, the U.S. trio who swept the podium at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games where triathlon made its Paralympic debut, are all racing in the women’s PTS2 category. All three athletes are members of the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team in Colorado Springs, Colorado, coached by USA Triathlon Level II coach Derick Williamson. A U.S. Army veteran, Stockwell was selected as one of the U.S. flag bearers for Tuesday’s Opening Ceremony in Tokyo.
Norman, who won the first-ever Paralympic gold medal in triathlon, is also back, racing in her second Paralympic Games in the women’s PTS5 category.
Fellow 2016 U.S. Paralympian Elizabeth Baker (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), returns for her second Paralympic Games, racing in the women’s PTVI category. She is guided by Jillian Baker (Gig Harbor, Wash.), a former U.S. National Team triathlete. Chris Hammer (Elkins, W.V.), a 2012 (track and field) and 2016 Paralympian (triathlon) will race in his third Paralympics, in the men’s PTS5 category. Both placed fourth in Rio.
The men’s PTVI category features U.S. Navy veteran and two-time Paralympian, Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Md.), who won seven medals in swimming in 2012 and 2016 and transitioned to triathlon 2018. His teammate in the category, Kyle Coon (Colorado Springs, Colo.), makes his Paralympic debut. Both are guided by Olympic triathletes — Snyder is guided by 2016 U.S. Olympian Greg Billington and Coon is guided by Andy Potts, a 2004 U.S. Olympian.
Amy Dixon (Encinitas, Calif.), rounds out the PTVI category, as she makes her Paralympic debut and is guided by age group champion triathlete Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.).
The men’s PTS4 category is represented by a pair of Paralympic Games first-timers in Jamie Brown (Oceanside, Calif.) and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Eric McElvenny (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Brown is a member of the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team.
Women’s PTWC athlete Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.), also a member of the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team, won two gold medals in biathlon and cross-country skiing at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
U.S. Army veteran Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas), racing in the women’s PTS5 category, makes her Paralympic debut.
Flash Quotes — Pre-Race
On the Village atmosphere and the Paralympic experience so far
“One of the things I love about coming to Japan is that the locals are always so stoked to have athletes here. They make all of the athletes feel like rock stars. Everyone has been so hospitable and friendly and awesome. Most of our time has been spent in the village and village life is great.” — Hailey Danz
“Tokyo has done such a great job. They’ve created such an organized and safe environment and everyone is so happy and welcoming. For so long we didn’t know if the Games were going to happen, and they’ve been able to pull it off and have spared nothing. There may not be fans, but this feels so special for the athletes. It really is amazing.” – Elizabeth Baker
“I’m kind of pinching myself and wondering if I am really here. It’s been an incredible experience so far and I think it’s going to be a really, fun and exciting race.” — Kyle Coon
On lessons learned from Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
“This being my second Games, I learned that you can’t set limits for yourself. The first Games I wasn’t favored to win and ended up having an amazing race. You just have to trust that process, trust the work that you put in. Coming in, I’m five years older now, I have more life experience – even though I’m still just 23 — and I’m a lot more grateful for being able to race and being safe and being able to see everyone again. I’m taking each opportunity to see how fast I can go on that day. I’m taking every race day as an opportunity; 2020 taught us that you’re not always promised to a race.” – Grace Norman
“There’s always lessons to learn from every race. The biggest takeaway that I have is to go out and have fun and enjoy what I do and if I enjoy what I do I know I’ll do my best.” — Allysa Seely
On the team’s positive culture
“We like to have fun. That’s kind of our jam. When I think about my career, that’s one of the things I’m most proud of. Being able to be a part of that original group of people to set the culture of the team. Our whole thing is that we work hard and show up and try to have the best performances as possible, but along the way we all enjoy each other’s company, we have fun, we soak in the moments.” — Hailey Danz
On the mentality heading into race day
“I’m ready. Let’s go. If we could race right now, I would do it. I’m super eager to get out there. It’s been such a long time since I’ve gotten to race. It’s going to be amazing to be back on the course and be able to push myself.” — Allysa Seely
“I’m going to race with a smile. I’m going to swim and bike like I’ve been training. I’m going to run with a lot of heart. I‘m here, I’m so thankful that I’m able to race. Whatever the outcome is, I’ll be smiling when I cross that finish line.” — Melissa Stockwell
“I feel like I’m in a really different place than I was two years ago, the last time we were racing consistently. I feel a sense of confidence that I’ve never really experienced before as an athlete. It’s taken experience to cultivate that, it’s taken showing up day after day after day through a lot of struggles and setbacks and showing up anyway and putting in the work. All of those little steps have culminated in this confidence and everything has come together.” – Hailey Danz
On leading the team as flag bearer at Opening Ceremony
“My favorite part about racing on the world stage is putting on that USA uniform. To do so with Chuck (Aoki, a wheelchair rugby athlete) my Team USA teammate, an amazing athlete and amazing human, and representing America and leading the team in waving the flag is an experience I’ll never forget. Leading the team into the stadium, that’s a moment where we’re showing the world how much ability is in our disability. The entire experience was amazing.” — Melissa Stockwell
On the message the Paralympics sends
“For me, the Paralympics are so special. It’s all about showing what the human body and the human spirit is capable of.” — Hailey Danz
Click here to download USA Triathlon’s “United in Tokyo” Olympic and Paralympic Media Guide, and click here to access photos of all 2020 U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team members.
Jamie Brown (Oceanside, Calif.)
Brown is a two-time World Paratriathlon Championships bronze medalist (2012, 2017) and six-time World Paratriathlon Event medalist. He took bronze at the 2019 Tokyo ITU Paratriathlon World Cup, sixth at the 2019 World Paratriathlon Championships and is the 2019 U.S. National Champion. He is a 2003 graduate of Chapman University in Orange, California, where he played on the NCAA men’s baseball team. He is a member of the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team in Colorado Springs, coached by USA Triathlon Level II coach Derick Williamson.
Eric McElvenny (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
U.S. Marine Corps veteran
McElvenny had his right leg amputated after stepping on an IED while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan. In 2019, he placed second at the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon National Championships runner-up and won the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI Paratriathlon American Championships. He earned his first World Triathlon Para Series medal earlier this year in Leeds, England, and took the win at the Americas Triathlon Para Championships Pleasant Prairie. McElvenny is a 2006 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he competed on the men's rugby team.
Hailey Danz (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
2016 U.S. Paralympic silver medalist
Danz won silver as part of a U.S. podium sweep with Seely (gold) and Stockwell (bronze) at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. She is the 2013 World Paratriathlon Champion, a six-time World Championships medalist, and winner of the 2019 Tokyo ITU Paratriathlon World Cup and the 2021 Americas Triathlon Para Championships Pleasant Prairie. She is a 2013 graduate of Northwestern University and is a member of the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team coached by Williamson. Danz is a cancer survivor and had her leg amputated due to osteosarcoma at age 14.
Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ariz.)
2016 U.S. Paralympic gold medalist (triathlon), 2016 U.S. Paralympian (track & field)
Seely won a gold medal in paratriathlon’s debut at the Rio 2016 Games. She also competed in track & field in Rio, placing sixth in the 200m. Seely is the 2015, 2016 and 2018 World Paratriathlon Champion, and took silver at Worlds in 2017 and 2019. She is a 12-time World Paratriathlon Event gold medalist, and she won an ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability after going undefeated for the entire 2018 season. Seely is a member of the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team in Colorado Springs, coached by Williamson. She is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State University, where she competed on the club triathlon team. She serves on the USA Triathlon Board of Directors.
Melissa Stockwell (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Women’s PTS2
2016 U.S. Paralympic bronze medalist (triathlon), 2008 U.S. Paralympian (swimming); U.S. Army veteran
Stockwell won a bronze medal in paratriathlon’s debut at the Rio 2016 Games, completing a U.S. podium sweep with teammates Seely and Danz. She is the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Paratriathlon World Champion and a five-time World Championships medalist. She also represented the U.S. at the Paralympic Games Beijing 2008 in swimming. Stockwell is a U.S. Army veteran who became the first female American soldier to lose a limb in active combat while serving in Iraq in 2004. She is a Team Toyota athlete and member of the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team coached by Williamson. Stockwell also serves on the USA Triathlon Foundation Board of Trustees. Stockwell is a 2002 graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Kyle Coon (Colorado Springs, Colo.), guided by Andy Potts (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Coon is a two-time World Triathlon Para Series medalist who earned his first international victory on May 15 in Yokohama, Japan. He is a two-time World Cup medalist, the 2019 Paratriathlon Nationals runner-up, and placed second at last month’s Americas Triathlon Para Championships Pleasant Prairie. Coon lost his vision at age 7 due to retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer. He is now a member of the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team in Colorado Springs, coached by Williamson. Coon is a 2013 graduate of the University of Central Florida. His guide, Potts, is a 2004 U.S. Olympian, 2007 Pan American Games gold medalist, decorated IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 athlete and an ambassador for the USA Triathlon Foundation. Potts is coached by Mike Doane.
Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Md.), guided by Greg Billington (San Francisco, Calif.), Men’s PTVI
2012, 2016 U.S. Paralympian (swimming; 5 golds, 2 silvers), U.S. Navy veteran
Snyder is a U.S. Navy veteran who lost his eyesight in a 2011 IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan. One year to the date of losing his vision, he won a gold medal in swimming at the Paralympic Games London 2012. Now a five-time gold medalist and two-time silver medalist in swimming from the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games, he made the switch to paratriathlon in 2018 and earned his first elite victory at the 2021 Americas Triathlon Para Championships Pleasant Prairie. Snyder is a Team Toyota athlete and a 2006 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was captain of the NCAA men’s swim team. Snyder’s guide, Billington, is a 2016 U.S. Olympian in triathlon, placing 37th in Rio.
Elizabeth Baker (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), guided by Jillian Elliott (Gig Harbor, Wash.)
2016 U.S. Paralympian
Baker competed in paratriathlon’s debut at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, placing fourth. She is a seven-time World Paratriathlon Event medalist and fourth-place finisher at the 2019 World Paratriathlon Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. Baker is a 1996 graduate of the University of Georgia and earned her master’s from Medical College of Georgia in 2001. She is coached by USA Triathlon Level III Coach Christine Palmquist. Elliott, Baker’s guide, is a former U.S. National Team triathlete who raced in World Triathlon Series, World Cup and Pan American Cup events. She is coached by USA Triathlon Level III Coach Mark Sortino.
Amy Dixon (Encinitas, Calif.), guided by Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.)
Dixon is a 2019 U.S. National Champion, 2016 Aquathlon (swim-run) World Champion, nine-time World Paratriathlon Event medalist and six-time World Paratriathlon Cup medalist. In February 2020, she earned a silver medal at the World Triathlon Para Series event in Devonport, Australia. Dixon is a 1999 graduate of the University of Connecticut and is coached by USA Triathlon Level II Coach Ken Axford. Her guide, Sass, is a decorated amateur triathlete with 10 age-group world titles across the disciplines of triathlon, duathlon (run-bike-run) and aquathlon. She is coached by USA Triathlon Level III Coach Suzanne Atkinson.
Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.)
2018 U.S. Paralympian (biathlon, cross-country skiing; 2 golds)
Gretsch is a multi-sport talent in both paratriathlon and Nordic skiing, having won two gold medals in biathlon and cross-country skiing at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. She is the 2014, 2015 and 2016 World Paratriathlon Champion, 2019 Worlds silver medalist and was undefeated in elite paratriathlon competition from June 2014-July 2018. She is a 2014 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and a member of the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team in Colorado Springs, coached by Williamson.
Chris Hammer (Elkins, W.V.)
2012 U.S. Paralympian (track & field), 2016 U.S. Paralympian (triathlon)
Hammer competed at the 2016 Paralympic Games in triathlon, placing fourth, and in track & field at the London 2012 Games, placing ninth in the 1,500m and 10th in the marathon. He is a three-time World Paratriathlon Championships bronze medalist and 12-time World Paratriathlon Event medalist. Hammer earned his bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University in Michigan, where he competed on the NCAA track and cross-country teams. He earned master’s degrees from Eastern Washington University and the University of Utah, and his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. He is currently head coach of the NCAA women’s triathlon team at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia. He is coached by USA Triathlon Level III Coach Wesley Johnson.
Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas); Elmlinger is classing up from PTS4
U.S. Army veteran
Elmlinger served for 10 years as a U.S. Army medic, with three back-to-back deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. She had her leg amputated in 2016 due to synovial sarcoma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer. She won the 2018 USA Paratriathlon National Championships in just her second triathlon since becoming an amputee. She is the 2019 World Championships silver medalist and won gold this year at World Triathlon Para Series events in Yokohama, Japan, and Leeds, England. Elmlinger is a 2010 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is coached by USA Triathlon Level III coach Shelly O’Brien.
Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio), Women’s PTS5
2016 U.S. Paralympic gold medalist (triathlon), 2016 U.S. Paralympic bronze medalist (track & field, 400m)
Norman won a gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in paratriathlon and added a bronze in track & field in the 400m. She is a six-time World Championships medalist, including two golds, a silver and two bronzes. Norman’s resume also includes 10 World Paratriathlon Event medals and two U.S. national titles. She is a 2020 graduate of Cedarville University in Ohio, where she competed on the NCAA track and cross-country teams. She also represented Cedarville at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships, placing 26th overall. Norman is coached by USA Triathlon Level III Coach Greg Mueller.
For more information about USA Triathlon at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, visit usatriathlon.org/tokyo2020.
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon, paratriathlon, and indoor and virtual multisport events in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,000 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Triathlon Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of World Triathlon and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).