They are two of the best athletes on the planet. One is a sprinter on the track with personal bests of 10.91 for 100 meters, 21.7 for 200 meters, and 49.3 for 400 meters. In London in 2012, he took a bronze at 200 meters and a silver at 400 meters. The other is a swimmer who specializes in the 200 Individual Medley and the breaststroke, and he has two Gold Medals for the 200 IM, one from Athens and one from Beijing, plus a silver from London. But Blake Leeper and Rudy Garcia-Tolson are much more than just great athletes. They are both missing both legs – Blake below the knee and Rudy above the knee – and they are changing perceptions about what someone with a disability can accomplish. Having them in studio together was really special.
Jan Frodeno decided to do his first triathlon after watching the first ever Olympic triathlon on TV in 2000. Only eight years later, in 2008, he out sprinted the 2000 Olympic champion, Simon Whitfield, and won a gold medal of his very own in Beijing.
Rudy Garcia-Tolson has already won two Paralympic Gold Medals for the 200 IM, one in Athens and one in Beijing. Two weeks ago he qualified to go to London to try and get Gold Medal number three in the pool….and on July 30th he also earned a spot on the Paralympic Track Team. Garcia Tolson became one of the few Paralympians in history to qualify in two sports when he won the 200 on the track in Indianapolis.
Rasmus Henning from Denmark has done it all in the sport of triathlon. A two-time Olympian in Athens and Beijing, he won the Hy-Vee race two years in a row when the purse was $200,000 to the winner, took fifth in Kona in his first attempt back in 2009 with a broken hand and in March of 2012 dominated in Abu Dhabi. We chatted about his ebook – www.prochasingthedream.com – his plans for Kona, and the balance it takes to be a husband, father, and a professional athlete.
Lauren Fleshman ran sub 15:00 for 5,000 meters (14:58:58) and was a favorite to make the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. Dealing with a foot injury that would lead to surgery, she took fifth in the trials and didn’t get to go to Beijing. Now she is a few weeks from the 2012 trials and this time it is an IT Band injury that has kept her running to a minimum. But her attitude is awesome and this interview is absolutely one of our all-time favorites.
Simon Whitfield won the Gold Medal back in 2000 in the first ever Olympic Triathlon and a Silver eight years later in Beijing. He is gearing up for one last Olympics and, at the age of 37, is looking forward to jumping into the longer distances after London. He went through his career and spent some time on the twitter battle that erupted recently between himself and Lance Armstrong.
Galen Rupp made the finals at 10,000 meters in his first Olympics in Beijing in 2008, and London is definitely in his sights for next summer. Earlier this year he ran his first half marathon in New York City and went 1:00:30, the third fastest half marathon for an American. In mid September he stepped it up a notch when he ran an amazing 26:48.00, the fastest ever 10,000 for a non-African.
In December of 2003, Andre Kajlich (pronounced Ky-Lick) was in the Czech Republic taking biochemistry classes. After a late night and early morning out with friends, he headed to the subway station for the trip home. The next thing he remembers was waking up in the hospital three weeks later and being told that he had somehow ended up on the subway tracks and had lost both legs above the knee. Add to that six broken ribs, a broken arm, collapsed lungs and a badly cut back, and the 24 year old was lucky just to be alive.
In October of 2010 he participated in his first triathlon as part of a relay team and swam 1.2 miles in the ocean before completing a ten mile run using a racing chair. Andre was hooked. He did an Olympic distance triathlon in the spring of 2011 and qualified for the New York City Triathlon, which is the national ParaTri Championships. In June he did his first 70.3 in Lubbock, Texas and qualified for Kona in his first attempt. In August he raced New York, took second, and qualified for Beijing a month later where he took home the silver medal at the World’s. Next up? The Ironman World Championship on October 8th.