Mary Kate Callahan

Paratriathalon

Served as envoy

  • 2016  –  Uzbekistan

“My life and sports journey began when I was just 5 ½ months old. During the night a virus called Transverse Myelitis, attacked my spinal cord and left me a T8-T10 paraplegic. I began swimming as part of aqua therapy, joined my local swim club and never looked back.

As a high school swimmer I was a captain of Fenwick High School’s 2012 State Championship Runner-Up team. As part of my efforts to swim at the state high school championships I teamed up with the Illinois Attorney General and Equip for Equality. Together we compelled the Illinois High School Association to create opportunities for disabled athletes to compete in state level competitions. As a result of this effort, myself and six other girls were the first athletes with a disability in Illinois history to compete at the state championship swim meet.

In 2012 I became the youngest member of the USA World Paratriathlon Team and competed in my first World Championships in New Zealand. I have also been a member of the USA World Championship Team in 2014 and 2015. Last season I won the ITU London World Triathlon and ended the season as the #3 female in the world in my classification. In October I set the course record at Ironman Louisville (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run). I am committed to representing the United States in world competition and look forward to continuing my 2016 international season.

I serve as a mentor and motivational speaker discussing adversity and encouraging children and young adults to engage in an active lifestyle.”

Rudy Garcia Tolson

Paratriathalon

Served as envoy

  • 2020  –  Colombia

Rudy Garcia-Tolson was born September 14th, 1988 in Bloomington, California. The youngest of 4 children. At age five, having already undergone 15 surgeries to correct a rare birth defect, Garcia-Tolson elected to amputate both legs above the knee. He opted for greater mobility and a full, active life with prosthetics. Undaunted, he began swimming, then running, and has been winning ever since! By age 15, he had won a Gold medal in the Paralympic Games breaking world records in swimming.

When he was eight years old, he stated that he would swim in the 2004 Paralympic Games. He was true to his word and won the gold medal in the 200 meter individual medley and broke the world record for his SM7 class.

In 2008 Beijing Paralympics, when he was 20, he again won the gold medal in the 200 meter Individual Medley event, breaking his own SM7 world record twice in the process. He also won bronze medal in 100m breaststroke SB7.

At the 2012 Paralympics in London, he broke the SM7 world record in 200 meter Individual Medley heat. In the final, both he and Yevheniy Bohodayko swam faster still. Bohodayko touched the wall first; Garcia-Tolson won silver.

As part of 2012 Paralympics, Rudy also qualified and competed on 100 meters and 200 meters track and field.

At the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Garcia-Tolson broke his PR (personal record) and gain back the AR (American Record) in 100m breaststroke SB7. In the 200meter Individual Medley again he broke his PR and won silver.

Rudy has spoken across the country to groups ranging from Fortune 500 companies to inner city public schools.

His blend of energy and humor inspires organizations and individuals to adopt his swim motto, No Legs No Limits, A Brave Heart is a Powerful Weapon, as their new standard of excellence

Rudy shares stories about choosing to amputate his legs at a young age, swimming in the Paralympics, and playing jokes with his prothetic legs to give motivation for overcoming adversity and reaching peak performance.