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Rudy Garcia Tolson

Challenged Athletes Foundation - Featured Athlete

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Meet Your Paralympian
It's a dream many have and few achieve - to represent their country in the Olympic Games.

Rudy Garcia Tolson has not only achieved this dream once, but will now head to London this summer for his third time representing the U.S. As a double-amputee athlete, Rudy hopes to bring home the gold this August as he competes in 5 swimming events and the 100m and 200m track and field events in the 2012 Paralympic Games.

At a mere 15 years old, Rudy drew the world's attention to Paralympic sports as he won gold in the 200m IM, shattering the world record at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. While his 200m swim happened in record speed, Rudy's journey to gold was not without struggles and the help of supporters that believed in him and his right to dream for gold.

Rudy was born with rare, multiple birth defects - a combination of crippling Pterygium Syndrome, a clubfoot, webbed fingers on both hands, and a cleft lip and palate. While other kids played outside, Rudy sat and suffered - an eager little boy trapped in an imperfect body.

At age five, after 15 operations, he told his parents he would rather be a double amputee than continue to put up with what his life had become. He had both legs amputated above the knee... and he's never looked back.

The loss of his legs marked the beginning of his life, a life without limits. When Rudy was eight years old, he announced to the world he would swim in the 2004 Paralympic Games. He was true to his word. He then podiumed not once, but twice, in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

Video Courtesy of BP

The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) has provided support to Rudy throughout his journey. For athletes with physical disabilities the cost of adaptive sports equipment and training expenses can be a roadblock to not only getting in the game, but achieving their athletic goals. CAF supports challenged athletes by providing funding for adaptive equipment, training and competition expenses and through mentoring opportunities. Now Rudy serves as a spokesperson and mentor for both physically challenged and able-bodied athletes alike.

When you donate to the Challenged Athletes Foundation® you help athletes like Rudy Garcia Tolson go for the gold in the Paralympic Games.
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