Wisconsin communities from Milwaukee to Prairie du Chien are represented in this year’s crop of Paralympic athletes.
The Paralympic Games will take place Aug. 24-Sept. 5 in Tokyo, a few weeks after the Olympics’ closing ceremony. Wisconsin has seven Paralympians that will be representing Team USA in events like wheelchair basketball, archery, and the paratriathlon.
Here are the Wisconsin athletes making the Badger State proud in the paralympics.
John Boie, Wheelchair Basketball
John Boie, a Milton native, is heading to his first Paralympic games in Tokyo to compete on Team USA’s wheelchair basketball team. Boie began playing the sport when he was at a summer camp when he was 11 years old. He graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2014 and got his graduate degree from there as well in 2019. He won a silver medal at the World Championships in 2018.
Lia Coryell, Compound Archery
Lia Coryell, a 56-year-old Army veteran from La Crosse, made her Team USA debut in 2015 at the World Archery Para Championships and Parapan American Championships, and now she will compete at Tokyo with a compound bow in the W1 women’s category.
Hailey Danz, Paratriathlon
Hailey Danz, a 2016 Paralympic silver medalist, is competing again in the paratriathlon. Danz, a Wauwatosa native, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma when she was 12 years old. After a year of chemotherapy and several surgeries, her doctors amputated her leg when she was 14 so she could continue to play the sports she loved like volleyball, basketball, and downhill skiing.
Joe Delagrave, Wheelchair Rugby
Joe Delagrave from Prairie du Chien won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games for wheelchair rugby, and he’s ready to compete again at Tokyo. He played football at Winona State University before he was in a boating accident in 2004.
Nate Hinze, Wheelchair Basketball
Nate Hinze, 33, is the most experienced UW-Whitewater wheelchair basketball player on Team USA. He is a two-time Paralympic athlete with a bronze medal from the 2012 London Paralympic Games and a gold medal from the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. He teaches middle school physical education at Ripon Middle School but is originally from Cedar Grove.
Matt Lesperance, Wheelchair Basketball
Matt Lesperance’s last Paralympic appearance was in 2008 at Beijing where he placed fourth with his wheelchair basketball team. At the World Championships in 2010 he received a bronze medal. Originally from Coleman, Lesperance has been playing wheelchair basketball since the age of 9.
Jake Williams, Wheelchair Basketball
Jake Williams is a 30-year-old gold medalist originally from Milwaukee. In 2016, he placed first in Rio along with fellow UW-Whitewater graduate and teammate Hinze. When Williams was 16 years old, he was riding his bike when a car hit him, causing him to be paralyzed. He started playing wheelchair basketball four months after his accident.