Aug 24, 2021 - Sports

Meet the Iowa athletes competing in the Tokyo Paralympic Games

Photo illustration of Paralympians from Iowa.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photos: Phongsavanh: Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Kerkhoff: University of Northern Iowa. Others: Team USA

The Tokyo Paralympic Games start Tuesday, and Iowans can cheer on five local athletes that are representing Team USA.

Meet the athletes:

  • Jessica Heims (400m and discus throw) — The University of Northern Iowa alum, who had her left leg amputated below her knee due to a congenital birth defect, has competed in track and field since she was 10. She's showcasing the Paralympic Games on her TikTok.
  • Erin Kerkhoff (100m, 200m, 400m and 4x400m) — The UNI athlete from Coralville is a Drake Relays medalist and winner of the All-Iowa Courage Award. This will be her first Paralympics.
  • Justin Phongsavanh (javelin) — An Ankeny native, Phonsavanh found his passion for javelin after a shooting in a McDonald's parking lot left him paralyzed below the waist. Within four years, he was competing in international events.
  • Matt Stutzman (archery) — Coming from a family of hunters, Stutzman took up archery as a way to feed his family. The Iowan from Fairfield is competing in his third Paralympic Games.
  • Josh Turek (wheelchair basketball) — Turek, of Council Bluffs, competed in his first Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, in 2004. He shoots basketball everyday for an hour and lifts four times a week.

How to watch: Select events will air during prime time on NBC (channel 13), with more coverage on NBCSN, and the Peacock streaming service.

  • More info, including a broadcast schedule, is available here.

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