"From athletes who will be representing Team USA for the first time to experienced veterans, this year's Parapan Am roster showcases a special blend of Team USA's finest athletes, and I'm confident this group will make us proud."
U.S Paralympics has announced the athletes that will compete in the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, from 12-20 November.
Team USA consists of 176 athletes, including 59 Paralympians and features some of the top Paralympic athletes in the world, including many medalists from the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
At the cycling venue, Paralympians to keep an eye on include Oz Sanchez (San Diego, Calif.), Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Karissa Whitsell (Eugene, Ore.) and Anthony Zahn (Riverside, Calif.).
Wheelchair basketball players Sarah Castle (Centennial, Colo.), Mary Alison Milford (Magnolia, Ark.), Becca Murray (Germantown, Wis.), Alana Nichols (Farmington, N.M.), and Natalie Schneider (Lincoln, Neb.) played on the women's gold medal team at the 2008 Paralympic Games and will also be competing in Guadalajara.
Other notable athletes competing in the Parapan American Games include Myles Porter (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who is attempting to become the first judo athlete to qualify for both the Paralympic and Olympic Games.
The team also features 17 military and veteran athletes, including 2008 Paralympians Carlos Leon (N. Lauderdale, Fla.), Scott Winkler (Grovetown, Ga.) and Scot Severn (Caro, Mich.). Also looking to help Team USA qualify for London in men's sitting volleyball are veterans Dan Regan (St. Louis, Miss.), Ed O'Neil (Amherst, Mass.) and James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa.).
"The Parapan American Games provide a unique opportunity for U.S. athletes to join together and compete as Team USA," said Charlie Huebner, chief of Paralympics, USOC. "From athletes who will be representing Team USA for the first time to experienced veterans, this year's Parapan Am roster showcases a special blend of Team USA's finest athletes, and I'm confident this group will make us proud."
The following sports will use the Parapan American Games as a qualifier for the London 2012 Paralympic Games: Archery, Cycling, Judo, men's Goalball, Table tennis (individual), Wheelchair Tennis, men's and women's Wheelchair Basketball, and men's Sitting Volleyball. Boccia, Table Tennis and Wheelchair Tennis athletes/teams can earn cumulative ranking points toward qualification. Athletes in the sports of Powerlifting, Swimming and Athletics can earn points toward achieving the London minimum qualification standard (MWS). Top performances will be recognized in the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) world ranking list, which may impact slot allocation for the 2012 Paralympic Games.
The three prior Parapan American Games were hosted in Mexico City, Mexico, in 1999. It is held every four years in the year before the Paralympic Games. The two previous Paralympic Games took place in Mar del Plata, Argentina (2003), and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2007).