U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, announced today that 33 athletes, including four gold medalists from the London 2012 Paralympic Games, have been named to the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Team.
On the team is Oregon resident Zena Cole. Last year, Cole returned home from a month in London where she won a bronze medal in the Paralympic Games and set a new American record for the discus throw for a quadriplegic.
|Zena Cole at the medal ceremony in Lonon last year.|
Cole, the oldest member of the American team at 55, broke her own Americas record for her class with a throw of 5.25 meters (18.04 feet). Twenty six year-old Josie Pearson of Australia won gold with a throw of 6.58 meters.
"It will be another exciting year for Paralympic track and field," said Cathy Sellers, high performance director for U.S. Paralympics track and field. "Last year, we had a large number of young athletes in their first Paralympic Games and a large number of finalists. We hope to be able to convert those finalists to medalists this summer at the world championships."
Athletes were nominated to the National Team on Jan. 1 and will retain their National Team status through Dec. 31, 2013, if they compete at the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships in June. Additional athletes may also be added to the roster throughout the year.
More than 20 Team USA athletes held a Top 10 spot in the 2012 world rankings, marking a significantly successful year overall for the United States. At the Paralympic Games, 18 athletes won a combined 28 medals, including nine gold medals between four athletes. Six athletes earned silver medals in London and 12 also won bronze medals.
Jeremy Campbell (Perryton, Texas), Raymond Martin (Jersey City, N.J.), Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Md.) and Shirley Reilly (Tucson, Ariz.) all return to the National Team after winning individual gold medals in London. Martin, named the 2012 Paralympic SportsMan of the Year by the USOC, led the way for Team USA with four gold medals while McFadden earned three.
"We should have some exciting races in the men's 100 and 200 meters for the 43 and 44 classes as the classes will be split for the first time in Paralympic history," Sellers said. "We look to be very competitive with Blake Leeper in the 43 and Richard Browne, Jerome Singleton and a healthy David Prince in the 44 class."
The U.S. also aims to build depth in the visually impaired and cerebral palsy classes in 2013.
The 2013 track and field season starts April 13 in Pomona, Calif. with the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational while the season-ending International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships are slated for July 16-29 in Lyon, France.
Other events include the Mt. SAC Relays, April 18-20 in Walnut, Calif., Kansas Relays, April 17-20 in Lawrence, Kan., Fast Cow competition on May 2 in Indianapolis, Ind., the Desert Challenge Games, May 17-19 in Mesa, Ariz., and the Swiss Series from May 25-June 2 in Pratteln, Nottwil and Oensingin, Switzerland.