Olympics

Portland native Rico Roman reminisces on winning gold at the Paralympics

Olympics
USA Sled Hockey

Rico Roman is a true American hero.

The 39-year old Portland native lost functionality of his left leg due to an explosion from a roadside bomb while serving a third tour in Iraq in 2007. 

“I remember looking down and seeing that a bone was sticking out of my leg and I knew I was out of the fight,” he told Yahoo! Sports.

The doctors were able to save the leg, but it would no longer bend and after a year of dealing with the pain, he opted to get it amputated. 

“I’ve got no regrets,” Roman told Yahoo! while preparing for the 2018 Paralympics. “And I’m thankful to all the people who helped me get to where I am now, getting to do a sport I love and chasing after a dream.”

That goal would become a dream come true, twice. 

After returning home, the former multi-sport high school athlete quickly found a new home on the ice, becoming one of the nation's best sled hockey players. Eventually, he got so good he would represent the red, white, and blue at the Paralympics where he would win gold in 2014 and 2018.

 

I still get goosebumps and chills just thinking about it. All the hard work. All the rehab that I've done. All of those things kind of went through my head in 2014 and then on to 2018 and being able to do it again. And all the people that have helped me get here, going back and getting to share that medal with them... It's just something special.

The highlight though was the aftermath. 

"There's times to party but there's nothing like a gold medal party. Nothing like after winning a gold medal how great that time is that you get to spend with your loved ones," said Roman.

Now, Roman plays wheelchair basketball for the Wheel Blazers here in Portland, and joined the Talkin' Blazers podcast to discuss it.