The Top Athletes to Watch at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games


The Paralympic Games are taking over the city of Rio for two weeks, featuring the top para-athletes from around the world.

Running from Sept. 7-18 in Rio, this year’s edition of the Paralympic Games will be the biggest ever—over 4,000 athletes are set to compete in 22 different sports.

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The United States dominated the 2016 Summer Olympics 121 total medals—China finished with 70, Great Britain with 67—including 46 gold medals, the most of any nation. Now the spotlight lands on the U.S. Paralympic team, which is expected to be one of the top-performing squads in Rio after finishing in fourth in London 2012 with 98 total medals.

Some of the top athletes for the United States include:

Matt Stutzman, Archery: Stutzman was born without arms and will be competing in archery after winning a silver medal in the 2012 London Paralympics in the Men’s individual compound open. Stutzman has the world record for the longest accurate distance shot.

Melissa Stockwell, Triathlon: The former Army officer and Paralympic swimmer was the first female U.S. soldier to lose a limb while in active combat. She will be competing in the triathlon after previously swimming in multiple events at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing.

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Tatyana McFadden, Track and Field: McFadden has won 10 Summer Paralympic medals (and one Winter Paralympics medal) and will be competing in a number of events in Rio, including the marathon, 100-meter, 400-meter, 1,500-meter, and 5,000-meter. She’s previously set world records in some of those events and won the New York City marathon wheelchair division in 2015.

One of USA’s best athletes, sprinter Richard Browne, will not be participating in the Paralympics after dealing with injuries. Browne, who previously set records in the 100-meter and 200-meter, said that he wasn’t “mentally and physically prepared to compete at the level I am capable of,” according to the BBC. Check out more on Browne from us at Men’s Fitness on how he prepared and trained for Rio before pulling out. 

Other top track athletes in the Paralympic Games include sprinters Alan Oliveira of Brazil, Jason Smyth of Ireland, and Omara Durand of Cuba.

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Smyth, who is visually impaired, has multiple world records, including a 10.46-second run in the 100. Oliveira won gold in the 2012 London Paralympics after defeating Oscar Pistorius in the 200. Durand is one of the top female athletes, having won gold medals in 2012 in the 100 and the 400.

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