Genevieve Rohner, 14
Park City, UT | Cerebral Palsy, Autism
“If not now, then when?”
Genevieve is a triplet, born at 28 weeks. Her underdeveloped nervous system led to a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy and her right leg bones in the wrong position. Diagnosed at three with Autism/Sensory Integration Disorder, she was later also diagnosed with Amblyopia. One of her brothers, Cole, had a stroke at birth, also resulting in Cerebral Palsy, Autism and six other diagnoses. They spent nearly three months in two different hospitals.
Her brother participated in a Hippotherapy clinical trial at three, opening the door to the horse world and an impactful family dynamic change. At four, she said, “My brain feels better when I’m with horses.” At five, she emphatically stated she would go to the Olympics on a horse. Now riding for a decade, in 2018 she became the youngest U.S. classified para equestrian. In 2022 she competed in her first internationals and became the youngest in the world.
She is inspired by other elite dressage and para dressage riders, notably Kate Shoemaker, Roxie Trunnell, Bèa DeLavalette, Sabine Schut-Kery and Adrienne Lyle, and feels lucky to know them and be able to talk with them. She would like to inspire other riders who don’t know they can, to believe in going after what they want.
In 2020, she was named to the USEF Para Emerging Athletes list with two horses at the 2020 Para Dressage National Championships on a horse she spent three hours on prior to competing. In 2022 at an international show, she earned a spot on the Development list. She is determined to become the youngest Paralympic Equestrian in 2024, working with the motto that there’s no guarantee she’ll make the team or medal, but someone will, so why not try?
Jamie Blanek, 32
Waco, Texas | Above Knee Amputee
“Don’t let anything steal your joy.”
Snowboarding was something that Blanek loved to do before her accident. Afterwards, her goal was to snowboard again. Through a trip with the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah, she was able to snowboard again. As an athlete, she enjoys all sports, including biking, archery, and swimming. In her sport, she aims to represent Team USA in the Winter 2026 Paralympics and demonstrate that anything a person sets their mind to, is possible.
Blanek’s story is one of hope. The 2015 Miss Waco, Blanek lost her leg in February of 2021 when she stopped her car to help two little girls in a car wreck and an oncoming car hit her. Greatly humbled by other members of the adaptive community, Blanek says being new to this disabled life, and grateful for those who came before her so she can learn from them and their journey. She wants to be a living example that ‘after your worst days can come your greatest days’.
Having hope from day one, laying in a hospital bed, that she would get her life back and survived for a reason, Blanek wants to travel and share her story and positive outlook, empowering people to take charge of their lives and live their dreams without having to go through a near death experience as she did. She is determined not let the injury and amputation define her. “I am a new Jamie, and this Jamie can have a huge life.”
Hailey Griffin, 31
Ridgway, CO | L5 Spinal Cord Injury (01/10/2019)
“Wizards are all the same, they talk nonsense while making wise and meaningful faces.”
While Griffin grew up 2-tracking, she didn’t start mono skiing until 2020, when she became involved with the Adaptive Sports Center (ASC) in Crested Butte, CO. Griffin has a genuine interest in being outside participating in sport as much as physically possible, spending time mountain biking and rafting as well as skiing. She refines her skills with all-mountain training through Hawkeye of the GoHawkeye Foundation in Telluride, CO.
She has done winter volunteer work for both the ASC and the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program (TASP), noting her obsession with skiing also fuels her desire to help others become involved in the sport. Her motivation is derived from within, and her burning desire to become a successful competitive skier. She aims to use her voice to help others learn to live their lives as best they can, no matter the circumstances. Externally, she is inspired by Alana Nichols, Trevor Kennison, Danelle Umstead and so many others.
Focusing now on the 2026 Paralympics, Griffin knows she can be a positive influence within and outside the disabled community, assisting others in achieving their goals. She would like do to well at the 2026 Paralympics and become more involved with Big Mountain skiing. “I want to help change the world and the way that it views and understands disability.”
Saylor O’Brien, 19
Woodland, UT | Spina Bifida
“Every soul who comes to earth with a leg or two at birth must wrestle his opponents knowing it’s not what is, but what can be that measures worth. Make it hard, just make it possible and through pain, I won’t complain. My spirit is unconquerable. Fearless I will face each foe for I know I am capable. I don’t care what’s probable, through blood sweat, and tears I am unstoppable.”
-Anthony Robles (one-legged NCAA champion)
Born with Spina Bifida, a spinal birth defect, O’Brien skied most of her childhood. With athlete parents, it seemed fitting for her to join a sport, so skiing it was at age four. Growing up near Park City, Utah meant plenty of skiing opportunities. O’Brien wanted to compete and joined a Park City program and has been competing for six years.
At about 8-10 years old, she I wanted to race because she loved going fast. Her dream has been to go to the Paralympics, and in pursuing this, she found the National Ability Center (NAC) competition team. The NAC has provided support, a cheering squad and family, and O’Brien intends to ski for the rest of her life. What gives O’Brien strength prior to races, is hugging her teammates and coaches so she can remember and feel it as she’s racing.
With the 2026 winter Paralympics in mind, O’Brien entertains the idea of a place on the podium and going to multiple Paralympic games. She looks up to her my mom, athletes, and other young women who want to show up in a mainly male dominated sport and kick ass. One day she would like to be a tattoo artist, ski coach and mentor.
Shelby Estocado, 26
Reno, NV | T6 Spinal Cord Injury
“The comeback is always stronger than the setback.
There are good days and tough days, never any bad days. Keep pushing.”
A lifelong athlete, Estocado always wants to represent her family, play for her country and be a great role model for others.
Her desire to give back and provide opportunities is strong, and despite the accident she suffered, her drive, athleticism, and competitive nature have not changed. If anything, her participates in sports has ramped up. Growing up playing sports, Estocado was super athletic and very competitive. “I grew up playing baseball with the boys. I played lacrosse, cross country, basketball, whatever sport was available.” A standout softball player in high school, and at Tulsa University (Oklahoma). Estocado went on to play for Team USA as a member of the National Baseball Women’s Team in 2016.
In 2020 Estocado sustained a broken sternum and T-6 vertebrae while snowboarding, losing control on a jump and landing on her back, resulting in a serious spinal cord injury and paralysis from the chest down. Recovery was arduous, however, Estocado decided her athletic pursuits were not over and now has her sights set on the Paralympics in skiing and basketball. She continues to pursue athletic excellence. Estocado concentrates on the good in her new adaptive life, hoping it helps others reach their own recovery goals. She would eventually like to sponsor another girl in Sisters in Sports and keep growing the girl gang.
Pearl Outlaw, 24
Charlottesville, VA | Visually Impaired/Blind
“Life is a marathon not a sprint”
Outlaw first got into rowing between sophomore and junior years of high school. Not being a super athletic kid, she tried different sports (lacrosse, soccer, volleyball), not excelling at any. She thinks Rowing appealed because starting as a teen or college student still allows for success. Running cross-country at the time, she liked that rowing was similar – rhythmic and no pressure to pass a ball be somewhere on a field. Her school didn’t have a rowing team, so she talked her way onto a neighboring school’s team, and went on to row at Ithaca College, a top Division III team, training with the para national team in summers until she made the team in 2018,
More recently Outlaw began Nordic skiing, hoping to compete in racing and biathlon, as well as rowing. Her ultimate goal is to win gold at the 2022 Senior World Rowing Championships. Her team’s speed is currently within 10 seconds of world record time. With a dream of becoming a dual sport athlete in rowing and Nordic skiing, she ultimately envisions competing in both Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. Prior to her participation on the para national team, elite athletes seemed untouchable. Knowing they are extremely dedicated, disciplined real people is incredibly inspiring, some working for a decade or more before making the team. “Their enthusiasm, work ethic, and self-discipline, and it inspires me to work that much harder.”
Desiring to inspire young people with visual impairments, Outlaw recounts growing up as a kid with a visual disability, enjoying the Olympics every cycle, but unaware of Paralympic or para sport opportunities. Wanting to explore sports like her friends but not knowing know how to be an athlete with a disability, she felt excluded without a visually impaired role model. She aims to be that role model for kids and teenagers thinking their disability prevents them from athlete and potentially elite athletic pursuits.
Post-competitive career, Outlaw plans to remain involved in para sports, possibly helping organizations develop para programs and educating the public about inclusion and para-athletics. She would love to live on a big piece of land or start a training center (similar to the Craftsbury Outdoor Center) where athletes can train/live in a communal setting based around environmental sustainability.
Allie Johnson, 27 2022 Paralympian
Western Springs, IL | Amputee of the Right Arm
“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
– Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Johnson first skied at four in Colorado. But growing up in Chicago made regular skiing difficult. She began racing in the winter of 2019. She had previously worked for the National Sports Center for the Disabled’s (NSCD) therapeutic horseback riding program as an instructor. In 2019, Johnson had graduated from college and was struggling with her next step. A co-worker, now coach, suggested ski racing. “Not having an answer to ‘why not’ is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” She took a risk and began training at NSCD and fell in love with the sport. Dreaming of winning a Paralympic medal, Johnson says her teammates push her to be better, try harder, fear less and laugh more. She looks up to Team USA successes and her local team with great pride. Despite a broken leg in February 2020 places during a downhill race in Canada, she was named to the 2022 Paralympic team.
Johnson knows kids have a need to fit in, and she is lucky enough to have been involved in the disabled community from a very young age. She hopes to inspire kids that are born ‘different’, citing the many people in her life that supported her athletic and other efforts as instrumental in her confidence and drive. “My disability is one of my favorite things about myself and I wouldn’t change it for the world.” Johnsons’ goal is not necessarily to be the fastest. She wants to be the best she can be and knows skiing makes her a better person. She has much more to give than speed.
Audrey Crowley, 15
Grafton, WI / Eagle, CO | Congenital lower right arm deficiency
“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better”
– Jim Rohn
Crowley hopes she will be able to ‘grow the game’, as her dad says, by encouraging and showing how great the sport of skiing can be. Crowley finds freedom in the sport and states that it should be a first stop when parents are looking for activities. A family activity since she was two, her father also grew up skiing and introduced her to it.
In 2022, Crowley was named to the five-person development team and was the U.S. National champion in both the women’s standing slalom and giant slalom as a 14-year-old in 2021. A skier must be 15 years old to be named to the national team. Crowley also was a recipient of the Live for Those Who Cannot Scholarship, which allowed her to attend a ski camp at Mt. Hood, Oregon.
Drawing inspiration from the community around her and other ski racers like Mikaela Shiffrin, Crowley hopes to inspire other girls with disabilities to join sports and demonstrate to them that they can do anything. Crowley has also played softball and spent time on golf when she was younger. Her aim is to compete at the Paralympics.
Kelly Worrell, 45
Cherry Hill, NJ | Congenital Limb Difference
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
– Nelson Mandela
A relative encouraged Worrell to do her first triathlon in 2013. In 2018, she attended a paratriathlon camp through Dare2tri and has been competing as a USAT Elite Para Triathlete nationally and internationally since. Worrell is also a USA Triathlon Level 1 Certified Coach. At her first triathlon, she was unable to shift gears. A later purchase of an adaptive bicycle allowed her to shift gears and brake using only her left arm, on which she qualified for Para Nationals in her first race. “What a lot of people don’t realize is how inaccessible basic things are to people who have disabilities, like a bicycle, or a leg to go run. If you have a child who is an amputee and wants to run track, you can’t just go to Foot Locker and buy a pair of Nikes.”
With a goal of representing the U.S. in paratriathlon on the world’s largest stage, she is also focused on growing every aspect of her life, making progress slow and steady. Currently ranked seventh in the world in paratriathlon, she participated in her first international competition, a world championship series race in Yokohama, Japan in 2022. She was named USA Triathlon’s 2021 Para-Development Athlete of the Year.
Worrell co-founded the Swim Bike Run 4 Equality Foundation, is a 2021 USAT Foundation Ambassador and member of the Dare2tri Elite Team and is excited to share her passion for adaptive sports with others. She takes inspiration from people who face obstacles and adversity yet continue to push forward and achieve their goals without excuses and hopes to encourage the next generation of adaptive athletes to go after what excites them and pursue their passion. Worrell does just that daily in her position as Assistant Director at Athletes with Disabilities Network Northeast (AND), heading the Mentoring & Outreach program and coaching clinics and assisting with programming, where she has also been a board member and volunteer since 2017.
Nicole Zaino, 26
Brookfield, CT | Hemiplegia
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it.
The time will pass anyway.”
– Earl Nightingale
Zaino had been disabled for 15 years when she discovered adaptive sports. To say she is involved is an understatement. She started playing Sled Hockey in 2019 after attending a try-it event, then tried Nordic sit-skiing in 2022 for the first time. Zaino currently primarily trains for Nordic sit-skiing, though also plays on the Sled Hockey team for the Seattle Kraken and recreationally does Alpine 4-track skiing.
She would like to compete nationally in Nordic sit-skiing, and eventually combine her research career, love for science and improving the lives of individuals with physical disabilities and knowledge, with adaptive sports by improving rehabilitation and devices through biomechanics research. Zaino researches the device-user interaction of powered mobility aids for young children with disabilities. She looks to current elite female disabled athletes for motivation, and highly encourages women and girls with disabilities to try new adaptive sports, even if they are typically male dominated sports. In the final year of her Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering, she hopes to conduct research in the biomechanics field, specifically interested in user and mobility devices interaction.
Abigail Duffy, 18
Concord, New Hampshire | Blind
“You know what they say: one cannot be brave who has no fear.”
– Marissa Meyer
Duffy developed a love for skiing at nine, after skiing with her father at Loon Mountain, NH. She started with small races and began racing seriously in 2018. While she has participated in Crew and Track, her focus is ski racing. “I really love the sport! My biggest goal is to make it to the Paralympics for alpine ski racing.”
With a dream of earning a Paralympic gold medal, Duffy draws inspiration from other skiers, especially other female blind skiers that paved the way. She hopes to inspire other blind and disabled people to try sports, especially skiing. She hopes to race for many years and incorporate skiing into a future career.