US high jumper Sam Grewe clears the bar at Berlin Grand Prix 2016

Sam Grewe


Grewe first leapt in to the spotlight in 2015 when he won the high jump T42 world title at just 17-years-old.

The young American had only been taking part in the high jump for a year – he didn’t even have a coach.

But if he lacked experience, he certainly didn’t show it. Grewe added a phenomenal 20cm on to his personal best, clearing 1.81m to take gold.

The following year he made his Paralympic debut at Rio 2016, finishing second behind India’s Mariyappan Thangavelu.

But in 2017 he was back at the top again, clearing a new personal best 1.93m at a high school meeting in May before going on to successfully defend his world title in London, Great Britain.

If his form continues, Grewe looks set to beat Arnold Boldt’s world record of 1.96m set back in 1980.

Grewe was diagnosed with bone cancer in his right leg in 2011; the following year his leg was amputated above the knee.


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
T63, F63

Further personal information

Middlebury, IN, USA
Athlete, Student
Higher education
Medicine - University of Notre Dame: United States

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up the sport in the early part of 2014 at age 16. His first major event was the 2015 Desert Challenge Games in Mesa, AZ, United States of America.
Why this sport?
Para athletics was recommended to him by his prosthetist. "Playing [American] football, basketball and lacrosse after my amputation I was never really all that good. It was fun to get back into it but I never could return to how I was before, so to have the opportunity [in Para athletics] to compete internationally is really awesome."

International debut

Competing for
United States

General interest

Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in T42 high jump at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. (Athlete, 28 Sep 2017)
Most influential person in career
Coach Kyle Mishler. (Athlete, 28 Sep 2017)
Hero / Idol
Canadian high jumper Derek Drouin, US basketball player Russell Westbrook. (Athlete, 28 Sep 2017;, 01 Jan 2018)
In May 2014 he suffered a cracked fibula in his left leg while playing lacrosse. (, 10 May 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"The only thing to fear is fear itself." (Athlete, 28 Sep 2017)
Awards and honours
In 2016 and 2017 he was named US Paralympics High School Male Field Athlete of the Year. (, 19 Oct 2016, 16 Oct 2017)
To work in the field of prosthetic development, and to compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 01 Jan 2018;, 27 Aug 2019)
At age 13 he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma [bone cancer] after a tumour was found behind his right knee. He underwent rotationplasty surgery, with his right knee and part of his leg amputated and the remaining part reattached so his ankle could work as a replacement knee. "The artificial joints they would have had to put in would be too fragile for me to ever return to sports. So I decided to go with the amputation just to provide even the slightest option, the slightest possibility, of a return to athletics." (Facebook page, 14 Jun 2017;, 16 Jul 2015; Uplifting Athletes, 10 Jul 2013;, 01 Jan 2017)
Other information
In 2021 he began studying at the University of Michigan Medical School in the United States of America. (Instagram profile, 19 Mar 2021)

In January 2020 he began working as an intern for the University of Michigan's MDisability programme, which was developed to promote the inclusion of people with impairments in healthcare research, education, practice and community engagement. "They [MDisability] really are able to provide a lot of disheartening insight into what medicine is like with a disability. There's just no people with disabilities as doctors. I've never had a doctor myself who has a disability." He served as co-leader of MDisability's 'Staying Fit While Staying Put' project, an eight-week exercise regime designed to help people with impairments exercise at home. (, 01 Sep 2020)

In 2012 he was adopted by the American football team of the University of Notre Dame as he was having treatment for osteosarcoma [bone cancer]. He would attend matches, spend time with the team and travelled with them to the national championship match in Miami, FL, United States of America. (, 23 Sep 2013)


Unit Date Rank
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's High Jump T42 Final 1 2015-10-22 1
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's High Jump T42 Final Round 2016-09-09 2
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's High Jump T42 Final 1 2017-07-22 1