COLORADO SPRINGS — Sophia Herzog has always had a passion for the game and she didn't let injuries derail her quest of becoming a Paralympian.
Having grown up in Fairplay, Colorado, Herzog’s first love was skiing. But due to a series of ACL issues in high school, Sophia knew she couldn’t continue to ski at the same level. Yet, she didn’t let this stop her from continuing her elite athletic career.
Instead, Sophia took to swimming. Herzog explains that she was first taught to swim by her mother and the Dwarf Athletic Association of America. Herzog says growing up as an only child with athletic parents fueled her need to compete. This urge and her hard work have paid off over the years.
Herzog is a two-time World Champion and five-time world medalist. She is also a two-time Paralympian and a defending silver medalist in the 100-meter breaststroke. After a prolonged wait, she hopes to continue her success by bringing back another medal from this year's Tokyo Games.
“And then just competing. You know it’s been five years; it’s been kind of a quirky, we call them quads," Herzog said. "But this is longer than a quad this time so a quirky five years to just see what my work and my sacrifices will payout to be.”
Sophia is also a leader when it comes to breaking stereotypes. Born with dwarfism, Sophia has never let this define her or her athletic abilities. She is the first person from her high school with a disability to compete at this level and she says the sky is the limit for those who wish to succeed. It’s all a mindset and challenging work.
“Train really hard and it’s worth it, you know," she said when asked if there was any advice she would give someone with disabilities looking to follow in her footsteps. "You get to meet some incredible people and find a sport that you really love and go for it.”