Melissa Stockwell

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Melissa Stockwell
Melissa Stockwell 2011.jpg
Stockwell in 2011
Personal information
Born (1980-01-31) January 31, 1980 (age 39)
Grand Haven, Michigan, U.S.
Height5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)[1]
Weight130 lb (59 kg)[1]
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service2002-2005
RankFirst lieutenant
Unit1st Cavalry Division
Battles/warsIraq War
Melissa Stockwell at the 2016 Paralympics

Melissa Stockwell (born January 31, 1980) is an American two-time Paralympian and former U.S. Army officer. Competing in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in three Paralympic Swimming events, she returned to race in the 2016 Paralympic Games and won a Bronze medal in the inaugural Paratriathlon event on September 11, 2016.

Military career[edit]

She joined the ROTC at the University of Colorado in her sophomore year and was a senior in college when the September 11, 2001 attack happened. She had Transportation Officer Basic Corps in Virginia before being assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. She was deployed in March 2004 to Iraq.[2]

A first lieutenant, she was the first female soldier to lose a limb in the Iraq War. She lost her left leg when a roadside bomb exploded when she was leading a convoy in Baghdad.[3] For her service in Iraq she was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.[4] Following her retirement from the military she works as a prosthetist[5] and served on the board of directors of the Wounded Warrior Project from 2005–2014.[5]


She subsequently became the first Iraq veteran chosen for the Paralympics.[6] She competed in three swimming events, the 100 m butterfly, 100 m freestyle, and 400 m freestyle, at the 2008 Summer Paralympics, and finished sixth, fifth, and fourth in her heats, respectively.[7] She was the U.S. team's flag bearer at the closing ceremonies.[4]

Turning to triathlon after the Beijing Paralympics, Stockwell was selected to represent the US in the 2010 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Budapest. She won the Women's TRI-2 (above knee amputee) class, then successfully defended her TRI-2 World Champion title in 2011 and 2012.[8] She is a multiple US National Paratriathlon Champion in her classification,[9][10] and was named USAT Paratriathlete of the Year in 2010[11] and 2011.[12] As of January 2013 Stockwell is at the top of the ITU's rankings in the women's TRI-2 class.[13] She won a bronze medal in the PT2 category at the 2016 Paralympics.[14]

Stockwell is a Level 1 USAT Triathlon coach and co-founder of Dare2Tri, a Chicago-based triathlon club specifically for athletes with disability.[5][15]



  1. ^ a b "Melissa Stockwell". Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  2. ^ "Wounded warrior shares inspirational message". January 19, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  3. ^ Stein, Ann. "Stories of Inspiration: Melissa – Amputee, First female soldier to lose limb in Iraq discovers new life after injury". Archived from the original on June 14, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Dugan Kusumoto, Tara (September 16, 2008). "Melissa Stockwell, Iraq War Veteran, Elected as Flag Bearer for Closing Ceremonies". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c "Board of Directors – Melissa Stockwell". Wounded Warrior Project. Archived from the original on April 16, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  6. ^ "First Iraq war veteran chosen for Paralympics Melissa Stockwell, who lost leg to roadside bomb, makes U.S. swim team". Associated Press. April 6, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2008.
  7. ^ Results for Melissa stockwell from the International Paralympic Committee
  8. ^ "Melissa Stockwell: Results". International Triathlon Union.
  9. ^ "Paratriathletes compete for slots and title at USA Paratriathlon National Championship". everymantri. August 2011.
  10. ^ "Top Paratriathletes Earn USA Paratriathlon National Titles". USA Triathlon. May 2012. Archived from the original on August 18, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  11. ^ "USA Triathlon Announces Paratriathletes Of The Year". January 2011. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  12. ^ "Melissa Stockwell, JP Theberge Named USA Paratriathlon Athletes of the Year". USA Triathlon. Archived from the original on August 17, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  13. ^ "Rankings Tri2 Women" (PDF). October 24, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  14. ^ Melissa Stockwell.
  15. ^ "Dare2Tri". Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  16. ^ Warrior Champions Archived October 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Austin Film Festival
  17. ^ New Jersey. "Stockton to host screening of 'Warrior Champions: From Baghdad to Beijing'". Retrieved January 18, 2013.

External links[edit]