Melissa Stockwell takes life day by day.
The two-time Paralympian will participate in the paratriathlon, a new addition to the Paralympic Games, beginning Wednesday in Rio.
“There’s no greater feeling than being the start of a new trend and just being unstoppable,” said Stockwell, who is promoting the Uncrustables #Unstoppable Olympic and Paralympic campaign.
Stockwell, 36, served as first lieutenant in the Iraq War and was the first American female soldier to lose a limb — her left leg — in that conflict. Being a Paralympian and war veteran both are important to her.
“To be able to defend our country wearing a military uniform over in a foreign country is something that I will forever have been honored to do,” Stockwell said. “Taking that and going to the world’s biggest athletic stage as a Paralympian in the sport of swimming, and now in the sport of triathlon, is similar. [It’s a] different uniform, but [it] represents similar values.”
Since her 2008 Paralympic debut, Stockwell became a wife and mother to two boys, Dallas and Jake. For the three-time paratriathlon world champion, adjustments had to be made to prepare, gearing up for the swimming, biking and running disciplines of the event.
“In Beijing, I really wanted to go and at that point in my life, it was a journey to get there,” said Stockwell, a Michigan native who lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. “… Now that I’m going to Rio, I don’t want to just participate. I want to go, and I want to do well athletically. And I want to be on that podium.
“I’ve had to overcome a lot to get here, and I’m just really proud of all I’ve overcome to get here today.”