Meet Some of the Paralympians to Follow at This Summer's Games in Tokyo
To learn more about all the Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Paralympic this summer, officially six months from Wednesday, on NBC.
Swimmer Coan, who has osteogensis imperfecta — a genetic disorder affecting the bones — won four medals at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
The 24-year-old once told PEOPLE that she loves that the Paralympics gives her and other Paralympic athletes the "chance to go out and show the entire world that we aren’t limited or defined by our disabilities, and that we’re elite-level athletes who train day in and day out just like our Olympic counterparts."
"I’ve competed in four Paralympic Games so far and they all have been incredible," 28-year-old swimmer Long previously told PEOPLE.
Long, a double amputee, has 13 Paralympic gold medals. The Games, she said, "[represent] years and years of hard work, sacrifice, sweat, and a few tears."
Masters, 31, is a road cyclist and already a four-time Paralympian. Originally from Ukraine, Masters had both of her legs amputated after being born with birth defects are a result of her mother’s exposure to radiation during the Chernobyl nuclear incident.
"I don't feel myself as a veteran yet — because it's different sports every time, it feels like the first time every time. It's really cool," the paralympian, who has competed in both the Summer and Winter Games for, respectively, rowing and cycling and then biathlon and skiing, previously told PEOPLE. "I want the U.S. Paralympic Team to be a force. It's really cool to be a physical example and have someone that somebody can relate to."
Brown, 28, is visually impaired and runs with guide Jerome Avery. The two-time Paralympian won a gold medal at the 2016 Games.
The athlete admits that he still gets nervous before events, previously telling PEOPLE, "The most difficult part of my journey as a Paralympian has been to overcome myself and my own nerves."
The athlete, 33, is a member of the USA Men's National Wheelchair Basketball Team and a three-time Paralympian. As a baby, Serio was paralyzed after having surgery to remove a spinal tumor.
His first Games were in 2008, and in the subsequent Paralympics he won two medals.
Ahead of the Games, Serio told Forbes, "We think that Tokyo is going to be one of the most competitive events we’ve ever seen, because of how much the game of basketball has grown across the globe."
Hill just earned his spot on the U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Team in 2018. The athlete, who has a hereditary neurological condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, will be competing in his first Games. The swimmer founded Swim Up Hill, which provides resources to help teach swimming.
He told Team USA earlier this year that he was grateful for more training time thanks to the Games' COVID postponement. “To have an extra year, well I’m not upset about it at all,” Hill said.
The 32-year-old Bassett — who lost her right leg in a Nanjing, China, chemical fire when she was an infant — was a first-time Paralympian when she competed as a sprinter and long jumper in the 2016 Games.
"From the streets of China to being an orphan to competing at the Paralympic Games, the biggest pinnacle for sport, well you can’t write a better script than that," she told PEOPLE ahead of the Rio Paralympics.
Townsend, a jumper, competed in the Paralympics for the first time in Rio, winning medals in the high and long jump.
The 28-year-old athlete, who has arm disabilities, told Team USA in 2019 that "one of the amazing things about Paralympics is the diversity of the disabilities that we overcome and deal with."