Roundup: Locations For Paralympic Trials Revealed With Paris Games A Year Away

by Luke Hanlon

Mikey Brannigan competes at the 2023 Para Athletics World Championships. (Photo by Marcus Hartmann/USOPC)

Every other week we scour the web for the latest going on in the world of U.S. Para track and field. Here’s what you missed!

One Year Out

The Paralympic Games Paris 2024 are now less than a year away, as Monday, Aug. 28 marked the official one year out date from the start of the Games.

Plenty of Paralympians posted on social media to remind their followers to mark their calendars for Aug. 28, 2024.

On top of the excitement of being a year away from the Games, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee also announced the dates and location for the track and field Paralympic team trials.

A lot of track and field athletes won’t have to travel very far, as the trials will be taking place July 18-21 at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in California. Dozens of athletes reside at the facility and train there year-round.

This marks the first time the Paralympic team trials will be held in Chula Vista, which was the site for the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Championships this past May.

While track and field athletes will have to wait until next July to cement their spot in Paris, marathoners will have a chance to do so before the calendar changes to 2024. The New York City Marathon, which is set to take place on Nov. 5, will serve as the qualifying event for the Paralympic marathon.

The top two American finishers in both the men’s and women’s wheelchair divisions will automatically qualify for the Paralympics. There are 19 Americans (12 men, seven women) who will be competing in New York, including defending women’s wheelchair champion Susannah Scaroni, 20-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden and two-time New York men’s wheelchair champion Daniel Romanchuk.

No Excuses

Not many athletes have been as consistent as Lex Gillette. Since he made his Paralympic debut at Athens 2004, Gillette has won silver in the long jump T11 at all five Games he’s competed in.

The visually impaired jumper has done even better at the world championships, as he won four straight golds in that same event starting in 2013.

That streak ended this summer in Paris, as Gillette finished in seventh place in the long jump, which was the first time he hadn’t reached the podium at a world championships in 12 years.

Gillette wrote in an Instagram post that a lot of people have asked him what led to that result? While he can come up with a few reasons for it, he’s more focused now on what’s ahead.

“I felt fine on competition day,” he wrote. “I could say this and say that, but the reality is, I felt like I was going to win gold that day, and it just didn’t happen.

“Something is always going to happen and it’s not going to always happen in our favor, but you have to keep pushing ahead no matter what.”

Two-Sport Athlete

Ezra Frech has made a name for himself in track and field, as the 18-year-old broke the high jump T63 world record on his way to winning gold at the world championships.

It turns out that Frech is a bit of a basketball player as well, which he proved in a recent video he posted on Instagram.

Almost Ready

Since one of his prosthetic legs wasn’t usable for the men’s 400-meter T62 final at the world championships, Hunter Woodhall has been regularly going to Italy to get new prosthetics made to ensure he doesn’t face a similar problem in the Paralympics next year.

Woodhall posted a video on his Instagram to give an update on how the process is going.

Woodhall said he’ll be back in Italy this week and should have his legs ready to come back home with him.

Luke Hanlon is a sportswriter and editor based in Minneapolis. He is a freelance contributor to courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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