Paralympian Ezra Frech Is the 'One Leg Man' on TikTok with a Meaningful Sense of Humor

"There are things that are out of our control. We might as well make the most of the situation and own it," Ezra Frech tells PEOPLE

Ezra Frech
Photo: Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty

On his TikTok account, there's a video of Ezra Frech's prosthetic leg falling off midway over a high jump and another where it suddenly flies forward in front of him during a track event. No one is making fun of Frech; he intentionally posts the videos there himself.

Frech, who calls himself the "One leg man" on the platform, uses humor to normalize his physical disability and inspire people to accept themselves and others. "I'm missing a leg and have two fingers on one hand, showing off things that most people would be extremely insecure about," the 16-year-old tells PEOPLE.

Frech, who is the youngest member of the Paralympic track team, is thoughtful about what he posts on social media. The videos are more than jokes about being jealous of guys with two legs, they encourage honest conversations about body image. "There are things that are out of our control. We might as well make the most of the situation and own it," the junior in high school says.

Less than 24 hours after a disappointing Tokyo performance at his main event, the high jump, Frech is already making the most of what happened and talking positively about the outcome. In preparation for the Paralympics, he trained six days a week, sacrificed time with friends and family and planned for a spot on the podium.

Frech placed eighth in the long jump and fifth in the high jump. "It was tough to have a dream of mine shattered," Frech says. Yet he's still smiling, joking and exchanging pranks with his teammates, who had recently woken him up by pouring cold water all over his chest.

He's looking forward to playing basketball with his friends when he gets home and making up some of the school work his teachers were emailing about while in Tokyo. "That's life. You pick yourself back up and go at it again," he says.

Ezra Frech
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Like any elite athlete, Frech is competitive, unrelenting and continually focused on future competitions. Next year, there's the World Championships in Japan, and in 2024, the Paralympics in Paris. Fast forward to four years after that, the Paralympics will be in his hometown of Los Angeles in 2028.

He grew up in L.A. and had a close group of friends and family, including two younger brothers. That same group came together at 3 a.m. this past week to watch his events from California. Frech credits his confidence in sports to his family and friends, who see him as a person beyond his disability.

The combination of athletics, a supportive network and access to the proper prosthetics helped Frech achieve success and joy in life. His parents encouraged him to share his story early on, leading to a career in public speaking.

Ezra Frech
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Frech and his father recognized that more disabled people in L.A. needed these same advantages. Together, they founded the nonprofit Angel City Sports, which provides free year-round adaptive sports opportunities for people with physical disabilities or visual impairments. There are now clinics almost every weekend, from judo for the blind to sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

When his defeat in Tokyo felt the rawest and most painful, his father reminded him that there was something else more valuable to him than medals. "I say it all the time: it's positively impacting people's lives," he says.

To learn more about all the Paralympic hopefuls, visit The Tokyo Paralympics air on NBC until September 5.

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