Adopted from a Siberian orphanage at the age of 13 months, Long was born with no ankles or heels. Five months after she arrived in Baltimore, doctors amputated both of her legs below the knee so that she could learn to walk with prosthetic limbs. She learned to swim in her grandparents pool by pretending she was a mermaid. At the 2004 Games in Athens, Long—just 12 at the time—won three gold medals. She added four more golds, a silver, and a bronze in Beijing. She currently holds 20 world records and three Paralympic records. In 2006, after breaking 18 world records—including in the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly—she became the first paralympic athlete to win the James E. Sullivan Award, given to the best amateur athlete in the United States.
Next Antonio Tenorio