The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games begin March 8! While you're cheering on the United States Paralympic Team as they compete for the gold in up to 80 different events, celebrate the achievements of other United States Paralympians through these books.
The Paralympic Games, first taking place in 1960 in Rome, were developed out of a post-World War War II movement to assist injured veterans of the war. Today's Paralympians include veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts who have put their military skills to work as athletes after injuries. One of the first came in 2008 when Kortney Clemons, a combat medic who lost his leg to a roadside bomb, became the first Iraq veteran to qualify for the United States Paralympic team. He recounts his mission to represent his country in a new way in his memoir Amped.
Fire in My Eyes is another servicemember's memoir: Lieutenant Brad Snyder, a Navy Seal who was blinded while serving in Afghanistan. Exactly one year later, he was standing on the podium receiving a gold medal in swimming at the 2012 Paralympic Games. He went on to win an additional gold and silver in 2012, as well as three golds in 2016. He holds several world and Paralympic records.
Years after a childhood cancer resulted in his leg being amputated, Josh Sundquist started to ski. His hilarious and heartwarming book Just Don't Fall tells the story of his childhood and teen years, and how he ended up representing the United States in skiing at the Paralympic Games. After retiring from professional skiing, he became a comedian and author, most recently releasing the teen book Love and First Sight, about a blind teen who undergoes experimental surgery to regain his vision.
Mark Zupan is one of the stars of the documentary Murderball, which chronicled the United States wheelchair rugby team as they vie with the Canadian team in the lead-up to the 2004 Paralympic Games. Zupan, who was on the bronze medal-winning team in 2004 and gold medal-winning team in 2008, wrote Gimp about his life after he became a quadriplegic in a car accident as a teenager.
Finally, don't miss Imperfect, the biography of baseball great Jim Abbott, who was born without a right hand. Before he went on to pitch 10 seasons in Major League Baseball, Abbott was first a star at the University of Michigan. He was recruited for the U.S. 1988 Summer Olympics baseball team, where he pitched the final game and helped the team win a gold medal. Although there's no baseball event at the Paralympics, baseball will again be an exhibition event at the 2020 Tokyo Games and may be added to a future Paralympics.
Good luck, Team USA!