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female Para triathlete Grace Norman bites her gold medal on the podium

Grace Norman

Triathlon | Athletics
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Grace Norman went down in history as the sport’s first female Paralympic gold medallist, and the US youngster has shown there is plenty more in store.

But challenging her is British rival Lauren Steadman, who stole the 2018 World Championship gold in the women’s PTS5. The category will be a thriller to follow ahead of the sport’s second Paralympic appearance at Tokyo 2020. And Norman remains in the hunt for the gold.

She defended her title at the 2017 World Triathlon Grand Final, beating out Steadman in a sprint-finish. The two have continued to jostle in the category.

Norman’s accomplishments came only after taking up the sport competitively in 2014, when she placed fifth at the World Championships. But a year later, Norman showed she is a true podium contender when she came second at the World Championships.

Norman was the youngest competitor at 18 years old in the Para triathlon field at Rio 2016, where the sport made its Paralympic debut. She took advantage of Steadman’s mistakes in the swimming portion to top the then-PT4 podium. A dual-sport athlete, Norman also captured bronze in the women’s 400m T44 bronze in Rio, like she had done at the previous year’s World Championships.

Norman was born missing her left leg below the knee as the result of congenital constriction band syndrome. She was fitted with her first prosthetic leg at age one.

When Norman is not racing, she trains show pigs that she presents at the county fair.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
PTS5

Further personal information

Family
Partner Evan
Residence
Jamestown, OH, USA
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
Higher education
Nursing - Cedarville University: United States

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
After first trying mini triathlons in Ohio, United States of America, she began competing in elite Para triathlons in 2014.
Why this sport?
She came from a sporting family, and was inspired to pursue Para sport after attending the 2012 Paralympic Trials in Indianapolis, IN, United States of America. "I grew up in a small town and went to a small Christian school and there was no one really like me that I'd ever seen, no one with a prosthetic limb. I grew up not knowing any Paralympic athlete. But in Indianapolis that day I saw people like me and I was really inspired. I was able to talk to some of the athletes and that really piqued my interest to be a Paralympian. It became real."
Club / Team
Cedarville University: United States
Name of coach
Greg Mueller [personal], from 2020; Derick Williamson [national], USA
Training Regime
She divides her training between coach Greg Mueller in South Bend, IN, United States of America, and at the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

International debut

Year
2014
Competing for
United States

General interest

Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the PT4 event at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (teamusa.org, 27 Jun 2021)
Most influential person in career
Her older sister Bethany, US triathlete Gwen Jorgensen, and coach Wesley Johnson. (teamusa.org, 01 Sep 2016, 27 Jun 2021)
Injuries
She was sidelined for one month in early 2018 due to a stress reaction in her right foot. (teamusa.org, 14 Sep 2018)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Don't be afraid of what you are not good at yet and have fun." (USA Triathlon Facebook page, 01 Aug 2019)
Awards and honours
She was named the 2015 Female High School Track Athlete of the Year by US Paralympics. (teamusa.org, 03 Sep 2015)
Other sports
She has represented the United States of America in Para athletics, and won bronze in the T44 400m event at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She also competed in able-bodied swimming and athletics at high school state level in the United States of America. (daytondailynews.com, 11 Jul 2021; SportsDeskOnline, 26 Aug 2021)
Famous relatives
Her mother Robin competed in distance running for Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, United States of America, her father Tim has participated in masters swimming and triathlon events, and her older sister Bethany has competed for the Cedarville University athletics team in Ohio, United States of America. (mydaytondailynews.com, 09 Jul 2016; teamusa.org, 22 Oct 2015)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (daytondailynews.com, 11 Jul 2021)
Impairment
She was born missing her left leg below the knee as the result of congenital constriction band syndrome. She was fitted with her first prosthetic leg at age one. (teamusa.org, 22 Oct 2015)
Other information
FUTURE PLANS
In 2020 she graduated with a degree in nursing from Cedarville University in the United States of America, and she plans to work as a nurse following her retirement from sport. "If for some reason you can't follow your dream [to be a top athlete], if you're injured or something, you have to have something to live off of. I want to be a nurse because I love helping people and I also know it's a way I can support myself." (daytondailynews.com, 11 Jul 2021; teamusa.org, 27 Jun 2021; daytondailynews.com, 20 Sep 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 400 m T44 Final 1 2015-10-28 3
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women PT4 Final Round 2016-09-11 1
Women's 400 m T44 Final Round 2016-09-12 3