COLORADO SPRINGS — Tuesday is the day so many athletes have been training for! What seemed like an endless wait is now over for thousands of athletes who are taking center stage at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games. Here is a spotlight on some of the local Paralympians who will be competing for the gold in Japan.
20-year-old Colorado Springs native Stetson Bardfield will be competing in the air rifle games. Bardfield was born with a condition that affects his limb control and when he was just 4 years old, he underwent bilateral knee dis-articulation. The former Marine was soon introduced to rifle shooting and has loved the sport ever since.
The next champion to cheer on is 29-year-old Kyle Coons. Coon lost his vision when he was just 7-years-old due to a rare form of eye cancer. Despite this, he fell in love with sports, and 10 years later, he became the first blind person to complete the Ironman Triathlon in less than 11 hours. Coons will be competing in the Paratriathalon at this year's games.
A record 4,403 athletes across 162 delegations will be competing at the Paralympics. Although tensions in the country prevented their athletes from making it to Japan, the flag of Afghanistan will be used as a symbol of "solidarity and peace" as the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games kicks off on Tuesday night. Like the Olympic games, the sixteenth Summer Paralympics was delayed by a year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Spectators have also been banned from the majority of events, as Japan continues to see rising cases of COVID-19.
For more information on where to watch the Paralympic games, click here.