COLORADO SPRINGS — The Tokyo Olympics may just have wrapped up, but the Paralympians are now preparing for their time to shine; and one USA Paratriathlon athlete has an incredible story.
USA Paralympian Eric McElvenny has served his country in more way than one. Eric earned a mechanical engineering degree from the United States Naval Academy and served as a marine. Eric traveled overseas three times to fight for our nation in the Afghanistan War.
His third trip overseas resulted in a terrible accident. Eric stepped on an improvised explosive device, which led to the amputation of his right leg underneath his knee.
Eric, however, was able to turn this tragic incident into a new opportunity. As a marine, Eric was searching for a way to challenge himself even more with his injury. He then discovered Ironman Triathlons.
He made his debut on the World Triathlon elite paratriathlon circuit in 2019 and now has an even bigger competition ahead. Eric will represent the United States at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. A moment he had to wait an extra year for.
“It feels so good to represent this city. Being military is something that was near and dear to my heart. I got to serve our country in combat and now I get to represent our country in athletic uniform, and I couldn't be more grateful,” said McElvenny.
“One thing about being an athlete is being able to adapt. I think that’s one thing as Paralympians we do best, we adapt. It’s hard to get that close and have to dial back but now we’re here and the energy is big and we’re ready to go out and get some medals.”
This past June Eric won his first World Triathlon Para Series medal, a bronze in Leeds, England and he hopes to become an Olympic Medalist here soon. He says his teammates help support him through this journey.