With the Summer Paralympic Games kicking off in London August 29, 17-year-old Greek-American Alyssa Gialamas is looking to add to the medals her Olympic peers brought to the U.S. As a member of the 2012 Paralympic Swimming National Team, Gialamas is representing her country by competing in the 50, 100, and 200-meter freestyle swimming events.
The Naperville, Illinois resident was born with arthrogryposis, a rare disorder that includes muscle weakness, stiffness and difficulty with mobility. She wears leg braces in order to walk, and the condition also affects her hands, wrists, jaw and feet.
Gialamas discovered her talent when she got in the pool as a form of therapy. She won four Silver Medals at the 2011 Parapan American Games, and holds the American records for the 50-meter, 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and 1500-meter free stroke and 100-meter backstroke.
Having wrapped up training in Germany with team USA, Gialamas and the rest of the swimmers are staying in London’s Olympic Village. Her mother Lisa will be updating Alyssa’s progress on her blog, http://alyssalondon2012.blogspot.com/, through the end of the games, which is September 9.
A live stream and schedule of events is available daily on the Paralympic’s website: http://www.paralympic.org. The young competitor also has a Twitter – @AlyssaGialamas – to keep fans informed on the latest results, as Lisa, her father John, twin brother Matthew, sister Tori, and the rest of the U.S. cheer her on.