Since his first Paralympic Games in 2004 at the age of 16, Rudy Garcia-Tolson has become an ambassador for Paralympic sport. Born with multiple birth defects, including Pterygium Syndrom, a club foot, webbed fingers and a cleft lip and palate, Garcia-Tolson endured 15 surgeries by the age of five before telling his parents he'd rather have a double leg amputation.
By age 8, he had already become active in swimming, running and triathlons. At that age, he stated that he wanted to compete at the Paralympic Games and eight years later, he made good on his promise when he swam to gold at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
In 2008 Beijing Paralympics, when he was 20, he again won the gold medal in the 200 meter Individual Medley event, breaking his own SM7 world record twice in the process. He also won bronze medal in 100m breaststroke SB7.
At the 2012 Paralympics in London, he broke the SM7 world record in 200 meter Individual Medley heat. In the final, both he and Yevheniy Bohodayko swam faster still. Bohodayko touched the wall first; Garcia-Tolson won silver.
As part of 2012 Paralympics, Garcia-Tolson also qualified and competed on 100 meters and 200 meters track and field.
At the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Garcia-Tolson broke his PR (personal record) and gain back the AR (American Record) in 100m breaststroke SB7. In the 200meter Individual Medley again he broke his PR and won silver.
He has been featured on numerous media publications and television shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, The New York Times, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and was named as one of People Magazine's “20 Teens Who Will Change the World.” Garcia-Tolson has won several awards, including the ESPN's ARETE Courage in Sports Award, Nike's Casey Martin Award and was nominated for an ESPY.
He continues to make an impact in his community through his work with the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) and as a motivational speaker.
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Please Note: All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Rudy Garcia-Tolson for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Rudy Garcia-Tolson speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.
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