After years of hard work, determination, and a little bit of elbow grease, Hardin-Simmons University Graduate Assistant Tanner Wright has qualified for the Paralympics in Tokyo.
Tanner Wright says, “The very first thing I just had was just relief, because this is the biggest thing that we’re supposed to work up to.”
When he was young, Wright was diagnosed with Arthrogryposis, which severely limited the growth of his left arm.
Tanner Wright says, “What is on my left side of my body, this should also be on my right side. Worst case scenario this should be what every single one of my limbs should look like. As far as I know I’m one of the only people in medical recorded history to only have this disability in one limb.”
Wright says he would not be where he is today without the love and support of his family, who have allowed him to be himself while competing, despite the odds being stacked against him.
Tanner Wright says, “I’m very extremely grateful just to have great family on my side. Especially my mom, who’s very emotional towards any little thing I do.”
Jessica Wright says, “Tanner has actually taught me more as my son, that I could ever teach him as a mom. Witnessing the determination, the perseverance he has gone through and demonstrated for years and years is just amazing.”
Competing in a single Olympic event is a major accomplishment, but Wright is competing in both the 100m and the 400m races.
Isaac Hamilton says, “Tanner’s probably the hardest working athlete I’ve ever met. He’s always here. He has his own schedule and he’s early to his own stuff.”
Sydney Tencate added, “Which takes a level of discipline that a lot of people don’t understand. So that’s not just nutrition, that’s literally sleep, you have to drink enough water it’s all of these things that it takes to make a good athlete.”
While in Tokyo, Wright will have the opportunity to inspire, and impact the lives of people all around the world, by showing them that dreams really do come true, regardless of the cards you are dealt.
Tanner Wright says, “That’s honestly why I even do track in the first place. It’s just to set an example.”
Jessica Wright says, “He wants to anybody able bodied or not able bodied at any age that you just, you put in the work, you put in the effort, the discipline and you can get to your goals.”
The Paralympics start on August 24th, which also happens to be Tanner Wright’s birthday.