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American Athletes Racing in the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon to Vie for Selection to Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games

Top Male and Female Wheelchair Racers Will Be One Step Closer to Securing a Spot on the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team

Thursday, September 3, 2015 4:00 pm EDT

Dateline:

Chicago
"The competition in Chicago will be even more exciting this year with the addition of the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials and the Chicago-New York Challenge"

Today, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced it will host the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials Marathon on the streets of Chicago on Sunday, October 11. America’s top athletes will race in the event’s professional elite wheelchair field to secure one of four spots on the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team.

“We are proud to host the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials and witness America’s best athletes compete for a chance to represent Team USA in Rio,” said Carey Pinkowski, executive race director. “With the trials and the Chicago-New York Challenge, Chicago will be a focal point for disability sport this fall, and we are honored to play a role in elevating attention paid to these tremendous athletes.”

In addition to racing for a spot on Team USA, athletes will be competing against an international field vying for the championship of the first Chicago-New York Challenge, which will serve as a prelude to the inaugural Abbott World Marathon Majors Wheelchair Series.

Chicago’s top two male and female American wheelchair finishers will be one step closer to earning a bid to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games.

“Team USA’s wheelchair racers have a strong tradition of excellence in the marathon, and we are excited to see our first track and field athletes punch their tickets to Rio on the streets of Chicago,” said Rick Adams, chief of Paralympic Sport and NGB Organizational Development. “The Chicago Marathon always puts on a world-class event for our athletes, and we know that they will serve as excellent hosts for our first trials for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games."

“Each year, Chicago is honored to host incredible athletes competing at all levels in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon,” said Karen Tamley, the commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities. “This year, we are proud to see an international spotlight on our city as wheelchair racers compete for an opportunity to represent the United States on a global stage.”

Headlining the American field are 2014 Chicago Marathon champions Tatyana McFadden and Josh George. McFadden and George, both hailing from the storied University of Illinois (U of I) wheelchair racing team, will return to defend their titles and work toward securing their positions in the 2016 Paralympic Games.

The Paralympic Games are no stranger to George, 31, of Champaign, Illinois, who has taken home a total of four medals in Athens 2004 (bronze), Beijing 2008 (gold, silver), and London 2012 (bronze).

McFadden, 26, of Clarksville, Maryland, in three summer Paralympic Games appearances (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012) has captured three gold, four silver and three bronze medals. In 2014, McFadden diversified her skills when she broke into a new sport – cross-country skiing – for which she took home a silver medal at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, her first appearance at a Paralympic Winter Games.

"The competition in Chicago will be even more exciting this year with the addition of the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials and the Chicago-New York Challenge," said Tatyana McFadden, 2014 Chicago Marathon Champion. "It's an amazing opportunity to be in a position to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games, but to do it on what I consider my hometown course makes it all the more meaningful."

Fellow U of I teammates are challenging McFadden and George for a spot on Team USA and competing for a Chicago win. Fourteen U of I athletes, including Amanda McGrory and Adam Bleakney, will compete in the trials.

For a complete roster of athletes competing in the trials, go to chicagomarathon.com/paralympicteamtrials.

About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
In its 38th year, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon welcomes thousands of runners from more than 100 countries and all 50 states, including a world-class elite field, top regional and masters runners, race veterans, debut marathoners and charity runners. The race’s iconic course takes runners through 29 vibrant neighborhoods on an architectural and cultural tour of Chicago. In 2014, an estimated 1.7 million spectators lined the streets cheering on a record, 40,659 runners from the start line to the final stretch down Columbus Drive. As a result of the race’s national and international draw, the Chicago Marathon assists in raising millions of dollars for a variety of charitable causes while generating $254 million in annual economic impact to its host city. The 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, a member of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, will start and finish in Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. Central time on Sunday, October 11. In advance of the race, a two-day Abbott Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place Convention Center on Friday, October 9, and Saturday, October 10. For more information about the event and how to get involved, go to chicagomarathon.com.

About U.S. Paralympics
U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic sports movement and to promoting excellence in the lives of persons with physical disabilities. Visit the U.S. Paralympics website at USParalympics.org.

Reporters May Contact:
Alex Sawyer, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 1.312.992.6618
alex.sawyer@bankofamerica.com

Katie Branham, U.S. Paralympics, 1.719.866.3302
katie.branham@usoc.org