The 16th Paralympic Games kick off in Tokyo on Aug. 24, so there's no better time to brush up on your Paralympic Games history. First up, it's high time we meet the most decorated Paralympian of all time and see if there's anyone even close to catching her.
Who Is the World's Most Decorated Paralympian?
The world's most decorated Paralympic athlete is American swimmer Trischa Zorn-Hudson, who holds the record of 55 medals across seven Paralympic Games. Zorn-Hudson competed from 1980 to 2004, earning a stunning 41 gold medals, nine silver, and five bronze. Perhaps the most impressive performance of her storied career came in the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, where she completed a perfect 10-10-10: 10 events, 10 gold medals, 10 world records. Incredibly, she was unbeaten in every individual Paralympic race from 1980 until 1992, winning only golds until her first silver medal at the Barcelona Games. Zorn-Hudson competed in the S12, SB12, and SM12 disability categories.
Right now, there's a sizable gap between Zorn-Hudson and her closest competition for most decorated Paralympian of all time. Here's the (all-women) top five:
- Trischa Zorn-Hudson, USA, swimming, 55 medals
- Ragnhild Myklebust, Norway, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge racing, 27 medals
- Béatrice Hess, France, swimming, 25 medals
- Jessica Long, USA, swimming, 23 medals
- Reinhild Moeller, Germany, alpine skiing, athletics, 23 medals
Of those top five, only swimmer Long is still active; she will be competing in her fifth Paralympic Games this summer.
To learn more about all the Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. The Tokyo Paralympics begin Aug. 24 on NBC.