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Hometown Hopefuls: Noah Malone, Indiana

Throughout the summer, in a series called Hometown Hopefuls, NBC is spotlighting the stories of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls from all fifty states, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, as they work towards the opportunity to represent their country at the Paris 2024 Games next year. We’ll learn about their paths to their sports’ biggest stage, and the towns and communities that have been formative along the way. Visit for more stories from across America as these Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls prepare for Paris in summer 2024.

The 2019 World Para Athletics Junior Championships gave Noah Malone something to remember. The young sprinter grinned ear to ear as he claimed gold on the biggest stage of his life thus far, finishing first in the 100m and 200m.

This success, however, was merely a precursor to what awaited the following summer at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. Malone earned silver medals in the 100m and 400m, then won gold alongside his team in the universal 4x100m relay. In his first Paralympic Games, the Indiana native fulfilled his lifelong dream of gold for Team USA.

Two years later (and just two weeks ago), Malone competed at the 2023 Para Athletics World Championships in Paris, France, which offered him a chance to prove he could still succeed against the best in the world.

The 21-year-old did more than maintain success at the Stade Sébastien-Charléty — he raised the standard. Malone set a championship record in the opening round of the 100m, posting a time of 10.50. A day later, he obtained his first career Para World Championships title with a time of 10.53 in the 100m final.

The championship meet was Malone’s first time stepping foot in Paris, but it’s unlikely to be his last. Malone is expected to be a star for the U.S. team at the 2024 Paralympic Games in the City of Light next summer.

For Malone, every medal comes as a reminder of the endurance it has taken to pursue his dreams.

At the age of 13, he developed Leber’s Heredity Optic Neuropathy, also known as LHON. The condition is a rare genetic disease that leads to central vision loss. Seven years after his diagnosis, he’s an upperclassman at Indiana State University in Terra Haute, Indiana, where he is one of few legally blind Division I track athletes in the nation.

As Malone gears up for his second Paralympic Games, the sprinter gave NBC Sports a glimpse into his life, sharing everything from his personal style to his goals for Paris 2024. And as an added bonus, fellow U.S. sprinter and Paralympic gold medalist Nick Mayhugh asked the questions.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity

Being from Indiana, your family’s from there. Who is your biggest supporter?

Malone: Family — you said it yourself. I would not be here if it wasn’t for my mom, sister and my dad.

What is your biggest hype music?

Malone: Oh, man. I probably have a playlist that I go to every warmup. It consists of Drake, Kendrick Lamar, a whole plethora of artists. So, I just go through that and it gets me ready.

What’s your go-to song if you had to pick one song?

Malone: I would say it’s gotta be something by Drake. Maybe “Nonstop.”

After the competition, after you’re done, what’s a comfort food you enjoy?

Malone: When it comes to dessert, I’m gonna have to say donuts. I’ll eat probably like five of them after I compete, so it’s gotta be that.

Speaking more on competition, you run the 100m and the 400m. Which one do you prefer?

Malone: Oh, 100m easily. I’d much rather run 300 less meters.

If you weren’t in track and field, what other Paralympic sport would you like to compete in?

Malone: You know, I’ve always wanted to try paraskiing … Maybe one day I’ll give that a shot.

Who’s your celebrity crush?

Malone: I gotta go with Zendaya.

How would you describe your personal style?

Malone: Man, comfortable. I’m not gonna wear anything that’s uncomfortable. I don’t care how good it looks.

You enjoy fashion and other things, but what are some of your guilty pleasures?

Malone: We can circle back to food. I love eating. Obviously right now cause we’re both elite athletes, we can’t eat too much, but it’s still eating. I don’t do too much - hang out with friends, listen to music, so I wouldn’t call any of that guilty pleasures.

Leading up to your second Paralympic games here in Paris, who’s the coolest person you’ve met on Team USA?

Malone: Probably Christian Coleman, and here’s why: So, I run the 100m, 200m. He runs the 100m, 200m. And you know, when I was younger, I would look up to him because he was always the best in his class, the best elite runner. And I saw him couple years ago and I was like, “Wow, that’s, that’s pretty cool.”

All right, so that’s the coolest person you’ve met from Team USA. Who’s somebody you would want to meet from Team USA?

Malone: I do want to meet Noah Lyles one day. I’m sure I will, but I feel like we have a lot in common as well. Name, events, we’re both into fashion — so that’d be pretty crazy to meet him. It will come one day though, it’s got to.

Can you name something on your bucket list?

Malone: That is a good question. [Paris] definitely checked off a big box. Competing — not even just being in Paris — competing in Paris. I will also say, I do want to go to Africa. I’ve never been to Africa. I don’t know if there will be any Games in the future that’ll be in Africa, but I want to run in Africa.

All right, so looking forward to Paris 2024, what are your biggest goals?

Malone: Cut and dry — win gold in every event I’m in. The bar doesn’t get higher than that. World records, personal records, gold medals. Bring back more gold for USA, it doesn’t get any better than that.