Meet Jessica Long, an American swimmer who won four gold medals in the on-going Paralympic games. She is also a favourite for her last event. See photos, video and a biography of Jessica Long here.
Jessica has taken part in six events till now and has won one silver and one bronze besides her four golds. She also set three world records in the meantime.
As a biography, Jessica Long was born on February 29, 1992 in Irkutsk, Russia so her age is just 16. She was adopted by Steve and Beth Long of Maryland at the age of 13 months, after her mother left her in an orphanage at birth. Her legs were amputated at the age of just 18 months due to lower leg anomalies.
She started swimming in her grandpa’s pool at a very early age and start taking it seriously in 1992. She was awarded the title of 2003 Female Swimmer with a Disability of the Year in Maryland.
Jessica won three gold medals at the 2004 Paralympic games in Athens and then went to win nine golds at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming World Championships in Durban, South Africa while breaking five world records in the process. She proved to the world that she was the best in her category at the age of only 14.
She got ‘Paralympian of the year’ and ‘Disabled Swimmer of the Year awards’ in 2006 for her exceptional achievements. Long also became the first Paralympian to receive AAU James E. Sullivan Award for the best US Amateur athlete.
At Beijing, Long won the S8 category women’s 100m butterfly and 400-meter freestyle among others.
“It’s unbelievable. All the work I’ve been doing has paid off. I’m really happy to start off the meet this way and I’m just going to take every moment in,” Long said in a statement. “I haven’t seen my family yet so I’m excited to share it with them.”