Everything you need to know about Paralympian wheelchair racer Daniel Romanchuk


Everything you need to know about Paralympian wheelchair racer Daniel Romanchuk

Daniel Romanchuk was born with spina bifida but he hasn’t let it stop him from chasing his dreams.

From a young age, Romanchuk wanted to compete at a high level in sports. That’s why he turned himself into a world-class wheelchair racer.

“At some point, I realized everyone else is walking and I use a chair but I was like, okay. I didn’t really care,” Romanchuk said.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about Olympic swimmer Ryan Murphy

His whole family played sports and Daniel wasn’t going to be the exception. He joined the Bennett Blazers physically challenged sports program in Baltimore when he was two years old.

By the time he was 16, he focused on racing and began training at the University of Illinois, which is the national training center for wheelchair track. He now calls Champaign home.

Romanchuk’s list of accomplishments include winning both the Chicago and New York City marathons. He was the first American to win the men’s wheelchair race in the New York City Marathon.

He also competed in the 2016 Paralympic Games at 18 years old. Now 21, Romanchuk has already qualified for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

“It’s every athlete’s dream to go to a Games and represent their country,” Romanchuk said.

He credits his mother, Kim, with providing the essential support for him to compete at a high level. The hope is to not only win races, but to inspire others.

“It really isn’t the medals, although that’s a wonderful thing,” Kim Romanchuk said. “You want that for all the people who supported you. For us, it’s can somebody else see this and see a way out of what they see is a hopeless situation.”

Tokyo Olympics rescheduled with new dates for summer 2021


Tokyo Olympics rescheduled with new dates for summer 2021

Almost a week ago, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They now have new dates set for 2021.

The Olympics have been rescheduled for July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021. The Paralympics will take place on Aug. 24 through Sept. 5 of 2021.

Those dates are exactly one day short of a one year delay (to set the Games to start and finish on the same days of the week) to fit in with the international sports calendar and to be able to maintain as much of the original schedule as possible.

“It is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games,” President of the International Paralympic Committee Andrew Parsons said in a press release. “The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world.”

The press release also noted that all athletes already qualified for Tokyo 2020 will keep their spot.

Decorated Paralympian Tatyana McFadden calls Olympic postponement 'a resilient moment'

NBC Sports Chicago

Decorated Paralympian Tatyana McFadden calls Olympic postponement 'a resilient moment'

The four-year cycle of the Olympics and Paralympics presents athletes a long runway to prepare to be at their best when it matters most. Tons of planning and work go into peaking at that time that comes once every four years.

With the Olympics being postponed, that work has been severely disrupted for the athletes involved. Tatyana McFadden, a 17-time Paralympic medalist and University of Illinois product, is one of those athletes, but she agrees with the decision to postpone the Tokyo games.

“I know a lot of emotions are happening during this time, but we are putting health and safety first and I think that’s the most important thing,” McFadden said in an interview with NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico. “When you talk about the Olympics and Paralympics, it’s the largest gathering of the entire world coming together so really the top priority is to put safety first and I have to respect that.”

McFadden won 16 of her medals, and all seven of her golds, in wheelchair track and field. She also has a winter silver medal in cross-country skiing.

Before she knew the Olympics were going to be postponed, McFadden had already changed her training routine so she could do it at home and made a gym for herself at home.

“I just tried to stay patient and stayed relaxed in a time of panic,” McFadden said. “Just doing what I needed to do and not knowing the unknown.”

Even with the Olympics officially postponed, McFadden and other athletes still have uncertainty in their lives, but she is trying to stay ready for what comes next.

“I’ve always been resilient and I’ve always fought during different parts of my life,” she said. “This is just another resilient moment that we’re going to have a little bit of a pause, but I’m going to come back stronger and better than ever. I know Tokyo is going to be putting on the best games ever next year so I’m definitely looking forward to next year and I think people are as well for watching the Olympics and Paralympics.”