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Most athletes can only dream of running in the Olympics. Tony Volpentest not only achieved this dream but rose to the top of his sport. This accomplishment is all the more incredible because Tony was born without hands or feet, yet was a four-time Paralympic Gold Medalist and five-time World Champion in the sprint distances.
Tony’s condition is rare—afflicting 1 in 500,000. Yet Tony never considered himself disabled. As a high-school sophomore, he decided to try out for the track team, mostly in an effort to make friends. Competing against able-bodied runners, Tony ran in “half-shoes” that fit over his limbs—which made running around the track more like balancing on stilts. Still, Tony never gave up and his desire to do better, step by step, propelled him forward.
Tony’s message is simple, yet profound: “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” He has achieved athletic success, but that is only the beginning of his incredible story. Today, Tony has established a foundation to work with disabled children under 18, who have the will but lack the resources to achieve their dreams. He also works with veterans from the conflicts in the Middle East, who have become disabled whiles valiantly serving our country. Tony has also written a memoir FASTEST MAN IN THE WORLD: THE TONY VOLPENTEST STORY, published by Bettie Youngs Books, www.bettieyoungsbooks.com which will be on shelves in July to coincide with the Olympics.
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