COLORADO SPRINGS — USA Paratriathlon is set to compete this weekend in Tokyo and one defending silver medalist is hoping to bring home the gold this year.
Hailey Danz grew up playing several sports and enjoyed her childhood. But when she turned 12, her life changed in the blink of an eye.
Hailey was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer in her left leg. Hailey spent two years undergoing chemotherapy and a number of surgeries before she made the decision to have her leg amputated. The amputation has allowed her to get back to doing what she loves most, engaging in an active lifestyle. Hailey discovered triathlon in 2011 and has made an incredible career out of it. She’s a six-time ITU Paratriathlon World Championships medalist and a defending 2016 silver medalist from the Rio games. She says the Paralympic movement is getting more recognition and she is pleased to see fans supporting her.
“It’s impressive to see, you know, someone ride their bike around the track super-fast but it’s even more impressive to see someone do it at almost the same speed, but with one leg. You know, I think the Olympics are all about you know, just what the human body and the human spirit is capable of, and I think the Paralympics kind of takes that to the next level.”
Hailey says leaving with the silver medal in Rio was memorable but this year in Tokyo, she is aiming for the gold.
“Kind of getting that self-belief and that self-confidence has been, you know, kind of a five-year process and I feel like that self-belief is something that I really had to earn and to work for, you know. But I feel like I have shown up every day and I've proven to myself that I do have what it takes.”
When she’s not training for the Paralympics, Hailey enjoys trail running and downhill skiing. The Paratriathlon competitions are set to start this Saturday, August 28th.
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