Other Activities of Melissa Stockwell
- USAT Womens Committee (2014- present)
- USAT Foundation (2014- present)
- WWP Advisory Council (2014- present)
- Chicago ADA Steering Committee (2014- present)
- Amputee Coalition of America Peer Visitor (2005-present)
- Mideast Triathlon Council (2013- 2014)
- WWP Board of Directors (2005-2014)
- USAT level 1 certified coach
- Co- founder of dare2tri
- Blade Runner organizer
Melissa Stockwell is three times Paratriathlon World Champion. She is in conversation with Namita Nayyar , President Women Fitness.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: An aspiring young gymnast you had dreamt of the Olympics. As U.S. Army officer in a roadside bomb blast on the streets of Iraq you lost your left leg. Later you started competing as a Paralympian. You reached the pinnacle of success by winning gold in Women’s TRI-2 (above knee amputee) class 2010 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Budapest. Tell us about your journey to this spectacular success and what factors you consider were responsible that made you achieve that?
Ms. Melissa Stockwell: I’ve always loved to dream big and after I lost my leg I wanted to prove to myself that it wasn’t going to stop me from doing anything I wanted to do. I was fortunate to have a large support system that believed I could do anything I put my mind too. After hearing of the US Paralympics it became a quick goal as there would be no greater honor than representing a country I defended over in Iraq on the worlds biggest athletic stage. Swimming at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008 was the experience of a lifetime and soon after I turned to the sport of triathlon.
Crossing the finish line first at my first triathlon World Championship was a moment I will never forget. It was Sep 11, 2010 and I thought of all those that gave the ultimate sacrifice so I could do the things I enjoy. It was a moment of being a proud American, a proud veteran, a proud amputee and finally getting that gold medal and hearing our national anthem. It was a good day..
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You became the first Iraq veteran chosen for the Paralympics. How did you feel before and after when in 2008 Summer Paralympics, in Beijing, China, you on 17th September 2008 was the U.S. team’s flag bearer at the closing ceremonies?
Ms. Melissa Stockwell: Wearing the USA uniform at the Paralympic Games and in the Beijing water cube was amazing. And while my athletic performances were not what I’d hoped I realized an important lesson in Beijing, that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. We all want the medals and we all want to win but it’s not always about winning.
At the end of the games I was nominated by by country and my team to carry the American Flag into the closing ceremonies, an honor typically reserved for someone who had done well athletically. Carrying the Flag, an object I was so passionate about, into the sold out birds nest of closing ceremonies was nothing short of incredible. I was bursting with American pride and felt so honored for the opportunity. A moment I wish I could go back and re- live over and over again.
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