Magazine article USA TODAY

Hats off to an Unlikely Champion

Magazine article USA TODAY

Hats off to an Unlikely Champion

Article excerpt

Throughout history, individuals have been remembered for different reasons: some for leadership on the battlefield, in legislative chambers, or at religious institutions; others for their acts of overcoming obstacles and exceeding all expectations. Tony Volpentest is one of those individuals. Several words come to mind when trying to describe him: competitor, conqueror, father, role model, and many others.

When I first heard about Tony, I was truly impressed with his athletic abilities. There are not many world-class athletes and record holders who did not start their sport until high school. To do that and to be born without hands or feet is amazing and inspirational.

With handicaps that have limited others, Tony is an athlete who plays several sports some thought impossible. He excelled in track, won several Gold Medals, and set world records at the Paralympics. His records were less than one second behind Olympic sprinters who were not wearing prosthetics.

I have had the opportunity to know Tony for more than 19 years. One quality he has taught me is tenacity. He is a person who has been physically limited all his life, but he is a challenger and fighter. …

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