Story by SrA Cynthia Belio on 09/06/2019KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Right here, right now. One foot in front of the other. Breathe. These are some of the mantras Jamie Brown says to himself as he runs his seventh lap on the track under the Okinawa sun.
As part of the United States Paralympic Triathlon Team, Brown has one main goal in mind: to stand on the podium at the 2020 Paralympic Games with a gold medal around his neck. He pushes his own limits time and time again to prove his will and ambition overrule the misconceptions the world may have about him.
"I was born with a congenital birth defect known as fibular hemimelia," Brown said. "I had to have my foot amputated at 10 months [old], as well as having a hand impairment ... those fingers were split when I was three."
An athlete by nature, Brown wanted an extra challenge outside of his baseball background. He was introduced to paratriathlon at the age of 30, and has continuously dedicated himself to improve in all three sports, swimming, cycling, and running, in the span of ten years.
"[Brown] is hopeful and poised to not only make his first Paralympic team, but [he's] a medal contender as well," said Amanda Duke Boulet, Director of the Paralympic Program. "He has been consistently standing on the podium at nearly all International Triathlon Union competitions, which led Jamie to become a member of the U.S. Paratriathlon National Team."
Every athlete struggles in different areas. One of the major challenges Brown faces is overtraining. Having the right coach and support system is essential for him to stay healthy and focused.
"You get into a swell of constant training, where it's basically just a lot of work, and rest is just as important as the work you put in," Brown stated. "Training smarter is way more important than training harder. I like to have someone to bounce ideas off of [so] they can pull the reins back if needed."
As an amputee and an athlete, Brown has never seen himself at a disadvantage from other athletes. He says the only limitations are the ones he sets to break, and he knows his mind is stronger than any physical challenge put in front of him.
"I really like seeing what my body can do and pushing myself to the limit," Brown said. "What gets me up these days is knowing I have a massive goal in front of me and I try to execute the daily goals to push myself as hard as I possibly can."
Brown's overall experience as an elite paratriathlete and his hunger for growth make him a passionate mentor to new up and coming paratriathletes.
"The most rewarding part is sharing my experiences with other athletes," he said. "Giving back, helping other athletes get involved in sports and paying it forward has been something I really like to do with my time."
In Brown's perspective, there is nothing he can't accomplish if he truly believes he can. His focus in the psychology aspect of sports and seeing things through a positive lens, have made him not only a stronger athlete, but a stronger person mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
"Your mindset is going to definitely take you to places that you didn't think you could go," he said. "There's always a solution to whatever problem might arise ... You have to be open to change and living one day at a time and just moving forward."