‘Amazing Grace’ headed back to second Paralympic Games

Grace Norman won a gold medal in the triathlon last year at the Paralympics in Rio. CONTRIBUTED
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Grace Norman won a gold medal in the triathlon last year at the Paralympics in Rio. CONTRIBUTED

Cedarville University grad Grace Norman won two medals at 2016 Games in Rio

Grace Norman keeps living up to that nickname draped around her shoulders like a royal robe so long ago:

“Amazing Grace.”

Already one of the most celebrated athletes in the Miami Valley, the 23-year-old Cedarville University grad is headed to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan next month.

The United States Paralympic Team will be announced Tuesday morning, but Norman already claimed her spot on the roster when she won the Americas Triathlon Para Championships in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin last week.

Norman was a double medal winner at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She won gold in the paratriathlon PT4 class (she’s now in the renamed PTS5 category) and took bronze just a day later in the 400-meter run.

ExploreARCHDEACON: How Grace Norman went from gold medalist to the red carpet

Born with a congenital constrictive band disorder, she had her left leg amputated below the left knee soon after birth and lost her right big toe, as well. She now runs with a J-shaped, carbon fiber Cheetah prosthetic.

She is currently ranked third in the world, but when a race is on the line – going back to her Xenia Christian High School and Cedarville University days – she proves hard to beat.

In high school, the Jamestown farm girl became the first female amputee in history to finish on the podium at the Ohio high school track and field meet – as a junior she was 8th against a field of able-bodied finalists in the 1,600 meters.

Grace Norman won a gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. CONTRIBUTED
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Grace Norman won a gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. CONTRIBUTED

And she won the 500-meter swimming event at the Metro Buckeye Conference meet against a field of able-bodied boys.

Running cross country and track at Cedarville University, she was a two time NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) All American and a regular on the Dean’s List. She graduated with a degree in nursing and has her RN license.

As a paratriathlete, she has competed all around the globe and is a six-time world paratriathlon medalist, as well as a two-time national champion.

She’s been honored at the ESPYS in Los Angeles and at the White House by then President Barack Obama, sung with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and this past spring – after a year’s delay because of COVID protocols – she marched in the CU graduation ceremony.

GraceNorman won her first national title in 2014 at the USA Triathlon Paratriathlon National Championships, and in 2016, she became the first paratriathlete in history to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro. CONTRIBUTED
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GraceNorman won her first national title in 2014 at the USA Triathlon Paratriathlon National Championships, and in 2016, she became the first paratriathlete in history to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro. CONTRIBUTED

With the 2020 Paralympics pushed back a year because of COVID, she trained much of the pandemic in Utah – she ran, biked and swam more than 20 hours a week – and then lived and worked out in Florida until recently moving to South Bend, Indiana for her final preparations.

Sometime after Tokyo – and with a pro career certainly awaiting her – she has said she wants to help people with her nursing, either working in an ER or as a psychiatric nurse.

“I’m definitely very excited to use my nursing career for the betterment of others,” she recently told Samantha Brodsky of POPSUGAR, the digital media company.

Once again he’s showing that tag of royalty is still a good fit:

“Amazing Grace.”