Melissa Stockwell in action

Melissa Stockwell

Swimming | Triathlon


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment

Further personal information

Husband Brian, son Dallas [2014], daughter Millie [2017]
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Business Owner, Motivational Speaker, Veteran
Higher education
Communications - University of Colorado Boulder: United States

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up Para triathlon in 2009 at age 29.
Why this sport?
"I was invited to do a triathlon. And I thought, triathletes are crazy - swim, bike and run was, you know, all in one day seemed a little daunting. But I love challenges, so I went and gave it a shot."
Name of coach
Derick Williamson [national], USA
Training Regime
She trains up to 18 hours a week at the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, United States of America. "We swim five days a week, with Tuesday and Friday our hard days in the pool. The other days are still pretty intensive. Thursdays are my hard bike day with some running and Monday is the hardest run day."

General interest

Memorable sporting achievement
Winning a bronze medal in the PT2 event at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (SportsDeskOnline, 07 Sep 2020;, 04 Sep 2020)
Most influential person in career
US Para triathlete Patricia Collins. (Athlete, 18 Jan 2015)
In early July 2021 she was hospitalised after a bicycle crash. She sustained multiple injuries, including a fracture of her L2 and L3 vertebrae as well as severe bruising of the pelvis. She resumed training the same month. (, 23 Aug 2021; Instagram profile, 08 Jul 2021)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"To be your own rockstar. It doesn't matter what other people think, be proud of what you do." (Athlete, 18 Jan 2015)
Awards and honours
She was named flag bearer for the United States of America for the opening ceremony of the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo alongside wheelchair rugby player Chuck Aoki. (, 23 Aug 2021)

She received the 2014 Mildred 'Babe' Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award from the United States Sports Academy. (, 29 Aug 2014)

She was named Female Para Triathlete of the Year by USA Triathlon in 2010 and 2011. (, 29 Aug 2014)

She was the United States of America's flag bearer at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. (Athlete, 02 Aug 2010)
Other sports
She competed in swimming at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, and she handcycled the 2005 New York Marathon in the United States of America. (Athlete, 18 Jan 2015;, 08 Apr 2014)
To win a medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 04 Sep 2020)
Her left leg was amputated above the knee after she was injured by a roadside bomb while serving with the US Army in Iraq in 2004. (Athlete, 18 Jan 2015;, 02 Aug 2010)
Other information
She co-founded the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club in Chicago, IL, United States of America, and has also served as a board member for the Wounded Warrior Project, the Mideast Region Triathlon Council, and the USA Triathlon Women's Committee. In 2020 she released an autobiographical book called 'The Power of Choice: My Journey from Wounded Soldier to World Champion'. (, 23 Aug 2021;, 04 Sep 2020;, 01 Sep 2016)

In 2019 she and her husband Brian Tolsma co-founded a prosthetics business called Tolsma Stockwell Prosthetics, which is based in Colorado Springs, CO, United States of America. (Tolsma Stockwell Prosthetics Facebook page, 08 Sep 2020;, 27 Mar 2020; LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2020)

In 2002 she graduated from university and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army. In March 2004 she was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. In April that year she was on a routine convoy when her vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, which ultimately resulted in the amputation of her left leg above the knee. She was medically retired from the army in 2005. (, 08 Apr 2014;, 06 May 2014;, 2014)

After she studied communications at the University of Colorado Boulder between 1998 and 2002, she studied prosthetics at Century College in Mahtomedi, MN, United States of America, between 2005 and 2007. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2020)