Rudy Garcia-Tolson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rudy Garcia-Tolson
Personal information
Full nameRudy Garcia-Tolson
Born (1988-09-14) September 14, 1988 (age 30)
Riverside, California, U.S.

Rudy Garcia-Tolson (born September 14, 1988)[1] is a Paralympic swimmer, runner and triathlete from the USA.

He was born with popliteal pterygium syndrome, resulting in a club foot, webbed fingers on both hands, a cleft lip and palate and the inability to straighten his legs. As a 5 year old wheelchair user, after 15 operations, he decided he would rather be a double amputee and walk with prosthetics. He had both legs removed above the knee.[2][3]


Garcia-Tolson started swimming at age 6.[4] Within a year, the seven year old was competing against children without disabilities and breaking records.[5]

When he was eight years old, he stated that he would swim in the 2004 Paralympic Games.[6][7] He was true to his word and won the gold medal in the 200 meter individual medley and broke the world record for his SM7 class.[8]

In 2008 Beijing Paralympics, when he was 20, he again won the gold medal in the 200 meter Individual Medley event, breaking his own SM7 world record twice in the process.[9] He also won bronze medal in 100m breaststroke SB7.

At the 2012 Paralympics in London, he broke the SM7 world record in 200 meter Individual Medley heat. In the final, both he and Yevheniy Bohodayko swam faster still. Bohodayko touched the wall first; Garcia-Tolson won silver.[10]

Other sports[edit]


Garcia-Tolson started running at age 7.[11] By the age of 13, he held T42 American Records in all distances from 400 metres to the half marathon.[12]

At the 2011 Parapan American Games, he won a silver medal in the T42 100 metre event.[13] At the 2012 Summer Paralympics, he competed on the track as well as in the pool. He ran personal best times in his T42 100 metre and 200 metre events, but did not qualify for finals.[14]


Garcia-Tolson competed in first his triathlon at age 8, as the swimmer in a winning relay team.[7] He raced with celebrities including Robin Williams as part of Team Braveheart.[7][15]

At age 10, he completed the first of many individual triathlons.[4][16]

In 2006, he completed the Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Clearwater, Florida. He attempted the 2009 Ironman World Championship in Kona but missed the bike cut by 8 minutes. Six weeks later, at Ironman Arizona, he became the first double above-knee amputee to complete a full Ironman Triathlon.[6]

Paratriathlon has been included in the program for the 2016 Paralympics. Although he has previously described triathlon as "cross training for swimming", Garcia-Tolson has indicated some interest in competing.[13]

Other Sports

Garcia-Tolson's other activities include karate, skateboarding, as well as kayaking and mountain biking.[5]

Recognition and awards[edit]

In 2003, Garcia-Tolson was named one of Teen People Magazine's "20 Teens Who Will Change the World". He was the subject of The Final Sprint's December 2006 "Success Story"; a monthly column that aims to highlight remarkable and factual accounts of runners who have overcome major obstacles and/or changed their lives via running.[17] He has won several awards, including the Arete Courage in Sports Award and the Casey Martin Award from Nike.[11] Following his success at Ironman Arizona, he was nominated for an ESPY Award in 2010.

Personal life[edit]

Garcia-Tolson has been a spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes Foundation since 1999.[12]

He is a student at Southwestern College,[18] likes hip hop music and skateboarding,[19] and has one brother and three sisters.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Rudy Garcia-Tolson". Team USA. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  2. ^ "Lee Gruenfeld profiles the amazing Rudy Garcia-Tolson". Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  3. ^ "Amputee Rudy Garcia-Tolson begins Kona quest at Wildflower". Triathlete magazine. 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Paralympic Spotlight: Rudy Garcia-Tolson". Swimming World Magazine. June 2009. Archived from the original on March 1, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Developmental reading assessment : grades 4-8. Beaver, Joetta., Carter, Mark A., Sreenivasan, Jyotsna., León, Vicki., León, Vicki., Siburt, Ruth. (Canadian ed.). Don Mills, ON: Pearson Education Canada. 2004. ISBN 0131225979. OCLC 156910269.
  6. ^ a b "Rudy Garcia-Tolson Becomes First Double Above-Knee Amputee To Complete Ironman". Triathlete magazine. November 25, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c "Rudy Garcia-Tolson". Bootcampers (including extract from Triathlete magazine, 1999). Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  8. ^ "ATHENS 2004 Paralympic Games-Swimming-Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM7". Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  9. ^ "Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games – Swimming – Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM7". International Paralympic Committee. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
  10. ^ "London 2012 Paralympic Games – Swimming – Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM7". International Paralympic Committee. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Rudy Garcia-Tolson Receives Second-Annual Casey Martin Award". October 31, 2002. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  12. ^ a b "Rudy Garcia-Tolson: A brave heart is a powerful weapon" (PDF). Uncommon Friends. 2001. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Garcia-Tolson makes push for third Paralympics". The Press-Enterprise. June 9, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  14. ^ "Rudy Garcia-Tolson". London 2012 Paralympics. Archived from the original on May 16, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  15. ^ "Team Braveheart inspires each other". USA Today. December 19, 2005. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  16. ^ "The start of it all: Rudy Garcia-Tolson. Edited footage of triathlons from 1997–2009". Rudy Garcia-Tolson's youtube. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  17. ^ "Podcast 3: Interview with Paralympic gold medalist Rudy Garcia-Tolson". The Final Sprint (via Archived from the original on July 4, 2008.
  18. ^ "Photo: First Day of College!". Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Twitter. January 16, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  19. ^ "Rudy Garcia Tolson; Iron-man, Swimmer, Skateboarder and Paraplegic". Yahoo Voices. Archived from the original on February 17, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2013.

External links[edit]