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Mormons competing in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio

Editor's note: This was updated Sept. 16.

Mormon Times counts 11 athletes who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are competing in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janiero. The opening ceremony is Sept. 7 and the events end on Sept. 18.

They include Irish runner Jason Smyth, who competes in the 100-meter T13 event, and Australian shot-putter Todd Hodgetts. They are both defending their titles. U.S. archer Eric Bennett, who was fourth in London, is the 2015 world champion in his division.

Others include Stanford swimmer Brickelle Bro, and Chilean runner Margarita Faundez.


Archery: Eric Bennett, of the Cactus Lane Ward, Surprise Arizona Stake, is the 2015 world champion in the open male recurve division for archery, and Rio will be his third Paralympics. Bennett, 42, of Surprise, Arizona, competed in the 2008 Games in Beijing in the compound bow division and finished ninth, and then in London in 2012, he was fourth in the standard recurve division. He lost his right arm above the elbow in a car accident when he was 15 and uses a mouth tab to pull back the string, according to

When to watch: The preliminary round for the individual recurve event is on Sept. 10, and the elimination rounds begin on Sept. 13.

Swimming: Two-time Paralympian Brickelle Bro, 19, of Colorado, who was born without feet, swims for the Stanford Cardinals. Bro, of the Stanford YSA Ward, Menlo Park California Stake, is scheduled to compete in four events: 50-meter, 100-meter and 400-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly.

When to watch: She competes in the S8 division, and the 400-meter freestyle is on Sept. 8; the 100-meter butterfly is on Sept. 9; the 100-meter freestyle is on Sept. 11; and the 50-meter freestyle is on Friday, Sept. 16.

Paracanoe: Ann Yoshida, 38, of the Mililani Hawaii Stake, was originally an alternate on the team, but is now competing in Rio, according to She was in car accident in college and was paralyzed from the waist down, according to

When to watch: The preliminary and semifinal canoe sprint KL1 event (or those with no use of their legs) is Wednesday, Sept. 14, and the finals on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Track and field: Tyson Gunter, 29, of Pocatello, Idaho, served a mission in Washington state and is an Idaho State University graduate, according to Gunter, of the Spanish Fork Utah River Stake, is an albino and competes in the T13 division, which is for the visually impaired, in the 100-meter and 400-meter.

When to watch: The men’s 100-meter preliminary rounds are on Sept. 8, and the final on Sept. 9. The 400-meter preliminary rounds are on Sept. 13 and the finals on Sept. 15.

David Blair, 40, of Eagle Mountain, won a high school state championship in discus and received an athletics scholarship to Weber State University, where he set several school records. Blair, who has a club foot, recently picked up the sport again after 16 years, according to and He competes in the F43/44 division for those with lower limb impairments.

When to watch: The men's discus throw for the F44 category is on on Sept. 16.

Rio is the second Paraplympics for Austin Pruitt, 22, of Spokane, Washington. He was fifth in the 200-meter T34 event in London. Pruitt competes in the T34 division for those with coordination impairments who use wheelchairs.

Events: Priutt raced in the men's 100-meter, T34, and men's 800-meter, T33/T34, division.

Wheelchair rugby: Josh Wheeler, 36, of Medford, Oregon, is a returned missionary and studied at Brigham Young University. He was in a motorcycle accident and broke his neck, losing the function in his lower body. He was introduced to wheelchair rugby a few years after the accident, according to the Deseret News archives. Wheeler, who currently lives in the San Tan Valley Arizona Stake. was on the U.S. national team that won bronze in 2014.

His classification is a 2.5, with 3.5 the highest mobility, and teams are allowed players with a total of 8 points on the court.

When to watch: The preliminary pool is Sept. 14-16, and they play France, Sweden and Germany. The elimination round is Sept. 17-18.


Track and field: Jason Smyth, 29, of Northern Ireland and in the Belfast Northern Ireland Stake, who has Stargardts disease and is legally blind, is heading to Rio de Janeiro to defend his Paralympic record in the T13 100-meter division of 10.46 seconds. This will be his third Paralympics, winning both the 100-meter and 200-meter in the T13 division for the visually impaired.

When to watch: The 100-meter T13 event is Sept. 8 and the finals on Sept. 9.


Track and field: Margarita Faundez, 28, of Santiago, Chile, won gold in the Parapan Am Games in Toronto in 2015 for the 1,500-meter, T12 division, for those with visual impairments. The massage therapist is competing in both the 1,500 meter, T12/13 division, and the marathon, T11/12 division. Faundez, of the Santiago Chile La Cisterna Stake, was diagnosed at 5 years old with a congenital eye disorder, in which her vision has slowly decreased, according to

When to watch: The 1,500 meter T12/T13 division is Sept. 8 and the finals are on Sept. 10. The marathon's T11/T12 division is Sept. 18.


Wheelchair basketball: Julieta Olmedo, 26, is a member of Argentina’s wheelchair basketball team. She is in the Cordoba Argentina East Stake.

When to watch: Argentina is part of Pool A, with Great Britain, Brazil, Canada and Germany, and starts Sept. 8-12, with the elimination bracket Sept. 12-16.


Track and field: Shot-putter Todd Hodgetts, 28, of the Melbourne Australia Maroondah Stake, is the defending Paralympic champion for the sport for F20 athletes, according He was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at 8 years old and in the past few years has battled shoulder injuries to defend his title, according to

When to watch: The men’s shot put, F20, division is on Sept. 10.

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