Fremont resident Tom Davis went from military veteran to two-time Paralympian after his time serving in Iraq left him with life-altering injuries.
With an amputated leg, two broken arms and back injuries among others, Davis struggled to regain his strength in physical therapy and suffered from a loss of identity after the military. Introduced to handcycling during PT, Davis kept his bike in a shed for two years––until he felt inspired to start racing it.
“The first ride I definitely thought I was gonna die,” Davis said. “But it’s just like anything else––you just gotta develop endurance and just keep doing it and keep practicing and the more I did it the more I fell in love with it.”
Motivated by his faith and a love for speed, Davis has become one of the best handcyclists in his field. In addition to competing in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Davis placed first in the Boston marathon from 2015-2019 and won first place six times in the Detroit Marathon. Davis’ impressive first-place time in the Paralympic Time Trials in Minneapolis earned him a spot representing TeamUSA this summer in Tokyo.
Without a mentor at the beginning of his handcycling career, Davis is passionate about talking to other athletes, giving advice, and sharing life experiences.
A proud Hoosier, Davis has received an overwhelming amount of support from members of his community throughout his handcycling career.
“I love where I live,” Davis said. “I love the people. They’re very supportive. They're very kind. They're always asking me ‘How’s racing going? How’s training going?’ So to be able to go and represent this little corner of midwest America, it’s awesome.”
For a look into Davis’ handcycling career, how he has overcome adversity and how he defines success, WBOI’s Callie Teitelbaum spoke with Davis to learn more about his journey to the Paralympics.