Local Paralympian carries flag for United States at this year's games

Posted at 11:49 AM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 13:49:02-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — An accomplished Paralympian who calls Colorado Springs home has been chosen to carry out one of the Game's highest honors.

Melissa Stockwell was selected to carry the American flag when the United States athletes are introduced during the opening ceremony on Tuesday. Stockwell is a world champion triathlete and is hoping to add to her impressive resume in Tokyo. Yet, despite her accomplishments, she is still honored to be selected as one of the country's flag bearers

"It’s like a dream that just keeps getting better and better. I’m still a little speechless but wow. What. An. Honor," she wrote on Facebook once it was announced that she would be carrying the flag alongside Chuck Aoki. "Representing the dedication, the sweat, the sacrifice, the athleticism and everything else it took to get us all here. A team of one held together by everyone that’s believed in us along the way. Thank you."

Adding to Stockwell's pride and patriotism is the fact she's an Army veteran. Stockwell was moved to join the military after the 9/11 attacks. She lost her leg in 2014 while defending America against terrorism in Iraq. Now, the 40-year-old will be lacing up her shoes to compete in her third Paralympic Games.

Like Stockwell, her fellow flag bearer, Chuck Aoki, will be competing in his third Paralympics as a member of America's wheelchair rugby team.