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One year out: Hailey Danz, two-time Paralympian, has eyes set on winning again in Paris

Danz lost her leg to bone cancer when she was 14 years old.
Hailey Danz
Posted at 1:31 PM, Aug 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-30 09:44:46-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Monday August 28 marks one year out from the Paralympic games in Paris, and training and conditioning hasn’t stopped for parathletes in Olympic City USA.

Hailey Danz is a local parathlete who competes in the triathlon. She is also a two-time Paralympian who won silver medals representing team USA. Now, she has her eyes set on winning again in Paris. She also shared her journey and her goals for the upcoming games with News5.

Danz grew up with a passion for sports, and sports were always important to who she was. Then, she lost her leg to bone cancer when she was 14 years old.

“It really kind of felt like that piece of my identity had been taken away, and that I wasn't going to be able to be active and play sports,” said Danz.

She began connecting with the adaptive sports community, and said she was eventually able to meet other athletes with physical disabilities.

“That's really what opened up my world and made me realize what all was possible, as you know, someone who is living with an amputation,” said Danz. “I think for me, that’s what really helped me propel into this world.”

Danz picked up the sport of para-triathlon in college, and has been competing for 12 years now. She said when she first began competing, the sport was beginning to take off, and it had just been announced that the para-triathlon would be making its debut in Rio de Janeiro a few years later. She said she was committed to being on the first Paralympic triathlon team, and wanted to represent Team USA.

Then, she competed in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, winning silver, and then competed again in Tokyo in 2021, winning silver again. The Tokyo games were postponed a year because of COVID.

“There was still a lot of uncertainty around if it was actually going to happen, and so I feel like for a long time, we were all training, as if we were going, to still not really knowing if it was actually going to pan out,” said Danz.

Danz said Tokyo was an incredible experience, and she's thankful she even got to compete. While it’s only been two years since Tokyo, and one more year to go before Paris, she’s said she’s looking forward to competing in the games once again.

“There was so much momentum behind Tokyo and so I feel like I’ve just been kind of capitalizing on that and kind of just like running with it,” said Danz. “It's actually kind of wild to think that we're only a year out. I feel like we just did this, but I’m very, very excited about it.”

“My goal is to go for the gold,” said Danz. “I was incredibly happy to get the two silver medals that I did, but I’m looking to do one better this time.”

Danz said she's currently training every day, multiple times a day. She said the world championships for her are in a month, and her triathlon team also recently visited Paris. She said during the trip, they went on the same course she hopes to be racing on next year.

“It just made everything feel very real and tangible. Where we’re racing is absolutely iconic. Every single turn, there is another monument to look at, and so the excitement is at an all time high," said Danz.

Danz has lived in Colorado Springs for the past six years. She said in her spare time, she enjoys drinking coffee and local coffee shops and making her own favorite flavors of ice cream.

Danz said a fun fact about her, is that when she was about 10 years old, she wanted to set the record for the most jumps on a pogo stick. She said she got to 905, and she called it one of her most proud accomplishments as a kid.

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