Meet The 11 Coloradans Competing In The Tokyo Paralympics

Robert Tanaka Judo
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Robert Tanaka practices throws during practice at Denver Judo in La Alma/Lincoln Park. July 28, 2021.

The Paralympics in Tokyo will close out a busy summer of sports starting with an opening ceremony next Tuesday, August 24. Of the 240 athletes named to the Team USA roster, 11 hail from Colorado.

The Colorado Springs-based U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee named the roster earlier this month, while the Olympics were still happening. Colorado is tied with five other states for having the third most athletes represented in the competition. Paralympians are asked to self-identify by hometown, which could be different from their birthplace or where they grew up.

Additionally, several other Paralympians train at Colorado facilities, including the official training center in Colorado Springs, but may not consider their hometown to be here.

Ten categories of impairment are considered when judging athletes’ eligibility. Athletes must have at least one of the following: impaired muscle power, impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency, leg length difference, short stature, muscle tension, uncoordinated movement, involuntary movements, vision impairment, or intellectual impairment. 

Each sport has different classification systems. For example, in track and field, there are three different classes for vision-impaired athletes. Someone with complete blindness would not compete against someone with partial blindness. 

Earlier this summer, Colorado was represented by 32 athletes at the Olympics, 10 of whom won medals

These are the Coloradans participating in the Summer Paralympics and their events:

  • Robert Tanaka, Denver (judo)
  • Kyle Coon, Carbondale (paratriathlon)
  • Hailey Danz, Colorado Springs (paratriathlon)
  • Melissa Stockwell, Colorado Springs (paratriathlon)
  • Stetson Bardfield, Colorado Springs (shooting)
  • Rudolph Garcia-Tolson, Colorado Springs (swimming)
  • Sophia Herzog, Denver (swimming)
  • Elizabeth Marks, Colorado Springs (swimming)
  • Beatriz Hatz, Lakewood (track and field)
  • Eric Newby, Bailey (wheelchair rugby)
  • Adam Scaturro, Lakewood (wheelchair rugby)