Talent Spotlight: Versatile Paralympic Athlete Alana Nichols

alana nichols

Alana Nichols appeared in the 2016 Rio Paralympics making great strides.

Alana Nichols has managed to make history throughout her athletic career.  Despite any hardships or trials she has gone through, Nichols has taken steps to be quite a versatile athlete, being one of the few athletes who has competed in multiple, different Paralympic sports.

Alana Nichols was paralyzed from the waist down in 2000 after a snowboarding incident.  As she attempted a flip on her snowboard, Nichols landed on her back, right on top of a rock.  This resulted in her permanent history.  However, she did not allow this to end her athletic career.  Merely two years later, in 2002 she began to play wheelchair basketball.  Since she did so well in the sport, Nichols received a scholarship to the University of Arizona.

Nichols was an U.S. alternate in the 2004 Summer Olympics and she became part of the national team the very next year.  Then, in 2006 Nichols helped her team win the Wheelchair Basketball World Championship.  In 2008, Nichols then helped her U.S. team win gold in the Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball event.

From there Nichols shifted sports.  Her mind was back onto a winter sport — this time, alpine skiing.  Her hard work in the sport earned her a spot in the 2010 Winter Olympics that were held in Vancouver.  In those games, Nichols achieved something no one would expect — she became the first American woman to win gold in both a Summer Paralympic sport and in a Winter Paralympic sport.  In fact, Nichols won two gold medals in Vancouver, a silver and a bronze.

After that experience Nichols moved to another sport again, this time taking an interest in Paralympic Sprint Canoe.

Alana Nichols’ ultimate goal was to become the first athlete to ever win gold (Olympic or Paralympic) in three different sports.  Unfortunately, Nichols came up short of her prestigious goal, placing seventh in paracanoe sprint in the recent 2016 Paralympics.  Nonetheless, Alana Nichols has proven to be a fantastic, driven athlete.


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