Four-time Paralympian, Multiple-time Paralymic Gold Medalist
I wanted to introduce you to Rudy Garcia-Tolson, four time Paralympian, multiple time Paralympic Gold Medalist, long time triathlon teammate of Academy Award Winner Robin Williams and the only double above knee amputee to finish an Ironman Triathlon.
Rudy has been overcoming barriers and changing perceptions about the meaning of the word ‘disability’ his entire life. At the age of five, having already undergone 15 surgeries to correct a rare birth defect, Rudy was left to either crawl on the ground or live his life in a wheelchair. Instead, he asked his parents to have the doctors amputate both of his legs above the knee and that’s when Rudy began to change the world.
After losing his legs, Rudy was the victim of both verbal and physical bullying. That all changed when he was introduced to swimming and the playing field was leveled.
Rudy was able to excel as a swimmer and gain respect from his peers as not just a challenged athlete, but as an exceptional athlete.
Before Rudy, no double above knee amputee was able to run. Rudy ran his first mile in 19 minutes and eventually became a sub 6-minute miler. At a young age, Rudy became a role model for other kids dealing with challenges of all sorts. His story of perseverance, of overcoming the odds, touched a nerve.
He appeared on Oprah with Robin Williams, was showcased on The Disney Channel, has been showcased in numerous televised news stories and on dozens of magazine covers.
Throughout his amazing career, Rudy Garcia-Tolson has given hope, motivation and inspiration to thousands all over the world. His blend of energy and humor inspires organizations and individuals to connect to his two long time mottos: ‘No Legs… No Limits’ and A Brave Heart is a Powerful Weapon.
Rudy has a life story that connects with kids, teens and adults in a personal way and helps them to understand that the only real disability in life is a bad attitude. He helps young people make empowered decisions in the face of personal challenges like negative social pressures, learning disabilities, domestic problems and disadvantaged backgrounds. They will leave Rudy’s program motivated to set higher goals for themselves as students, and to become stronger leaders in their communities.