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'Know No Limits' - those three little words that have weaved throughout this Paralympian's life and define his transformation into an Elite Athlete, mentor and inspiration to physically challenged and able-bodied people alike.
Oz has represented his country in two of the most honorable ways - first as a Reconnaissance Marine and now as an active Paralympian and gold medalist.
Oz was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. After five years in the Marines, Oz decided to transfer to the Navy to serve as a Navy SEAL. In July 2001, during his transfer between branches, Oz was involved in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury and the inevitable paralysis and neurological complications associated with it. After the accident, Oz's biggest fear was being defined by his injury.
Oz chose to overcome his encompassing physical and mental challenges by redefining himself with a new sense of direction and purpose in his life. He dedicated himself to education and handcycling - excelling in both as a Business Graduate from San Diego State University and a gold medalist in the men's handcycle at the Beijing Paralympic Games.
Oz is now a motivational speaker and official spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes Foundation
(CAF) and the Paralympic Committee. He remains committed to serving his country through his career as the process improvement facilitator with the Department of Defense.
CAF and Operation Rebound have played a valuable role in Oz's career - he was a relatively unknown handcyclist and had never done a triathlon when introduced to CAF in 2007. "Without the support that Operation Rebound provided me in preparation for the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, I would NOT have returned from Beijing a Gold medalist, period!" - Oz Sanchez
Through his own dedication, hard work and focus coupled with the support of CAF and his friends and family, Oz will continue to know no limits and remain on the fast track to gold.
- Oz Sanchez is one of the world's most accomplished handcyclists. He won gold and bronze medals at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and gold medals at the 2009 and 2010 World Cycling Championships (HC4 time trial). Oz also won the TRI1 Class at three consecutive U.S. Paratriathlon National Championships and qualified to compete in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
- Using his arms, he can produce a maximum of 915 watts, and he can sustain about 460-510 watts for a climb of about 10 minutes. His average output, depending on the course, is about 175-225 watts. By comparison, elite pro cyclists using two legs produce a max of around 1,000 watts and average about 321-359 for a one-hour time trial.
- Like other spinal cord injured athletes, Oz needs a custom-fitted handcycle appropriate for his height and weight.
- Oz was nominated for an ESPY award in 2012
- Oz tackled the grueling Ironman World Championships race in Kona, Hawaii this year.