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.
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.”