Paralympic champion swimmer Jessica Long to visit BGSU

Jessica Long (Photo provided)

Submitted WE ARE ONE TEAM 

We Are One Team (WA1T), an award-winning initiative to promote social justice through sport at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), is excited to announce its 2017 fall speaker for the WA1T: Our Voices educational series: Jessica Long, 13-time Paralympic gold medalist and second-most decorated Paralympic athlete in U.S. history.

On Wednesday, November 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the Stroh Center, Long will hold a keynote presentation focused on her inspirational story about being adopted from Russia at a young age to becoming a 13-time Paralympic gold medalist in swimming. The keynote event titled, “We Are One Team (WA1T) Presents: Jessica Long – The Story of a Paralympic Prodigy,” is open tothe public.
“I am honored to join Bowling Green State University to promote their We Are One Team (WA1T) initiative,” Long said, “My experience as a Paralympic athlete has taught me the importance of self-confidence and acceptance of others. I hope that by sharing my story, I can help encourage others to redefine ‘normal’ and celebrate our diversity.”
“Jessica is a high-profile athlete who has used her platform to create understanding for marginalized members of the sport community,” Yannick Kluch, president of We Are One Team (WA1T), said. “Her drive to promote diversity and inclusion throughout her career make her a perfect speaker for We Are One Team. We are always looking for athletes who break down stereotypes and live authentically no matter what challenges they may face.”
Long was born with fibular hemimelia and had both legs amputated at 18 months old. She was involved in many sports growing up before she joined her first competitive swim team at the age of 10. She has competed in four Paralympic games and has won 23 Paralympic medals.

Long is also a three-time recipient of the ESPN Best Female Athlete with a Disability ESPY Award. She has been named to Sports Illustrated’s list of “The World’s Best Female Athletes” twice. Currently, Long trains with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.
While Long’s keynote presentation as part of the WA1T: Our Voices educational series will be the main event of her visit to Bowling Green, Long will also visit the Wood County District Public Library on November 9 to interact and speak with Bowling Green middle schoolers. Her visit is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. This event provides middle schoolers the opportunity to listen to a story of adversity from an accomplished athlete and will highlight the importance of promoting values such as diversity and inclusion at a young age. While the session is focused on middle schoolers, it is open to the public and Bowling Green community members are welcome to attend.
Long’s two-day visit to Bowling Green will also consist of opportunities to meet with students, community members, faculty, staff, administrators, and student-athletes. She will visit classes in the School of Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies to share her story and interact with students who are interested in working with athletes in a variety of capacities. Finally, Long will attend a session to connect with members from the BGSU Women’s Swimming and Diving team, which will allow BGSU student-athletes to connect with a high-profile athlete who is at the top of her sport.
Mandy Washko, co-captain of the BGSU Swimming and Diving Team and Vice President of We Are One Team (WA1T), said, “I am looking forward to having Jessica speak to our team. This will be a great opportunity for our team to understand someone else’s struggle and, despite how much she has been through, still be successful. Her positive attitude and work ethic are a true inspiration. She seems to have an amazing attitude not only toward life in general, but also toward the sport of swimming. We can’t wait to welcome her to BGSU!”
About We Are One Team (WA1T)
We Are One Team (WA1T) is an initiative to promote diversity, inclusion, and social justice at BGSU and in the Bowling Green community. One of the core goals of the initiative is to use sport to create a dialogue on social justice issues by highlighting marginalized voices and by creating awareness of social injustice in our community. The WA1T: Our Voices educational series was created to accomplish this goal. Each event of the series features speakers who have used their involvement in sport to address social justice issues. Past WA1T: Our Voices events have featured Robbie Rogers, first gay male athlete to compete in any of the five major North American sports leagues, and speakers from the Muhammad Ali Canter. In 2017, We Are One
Team (WA1T) was honored with the prestigious NCAA Award for Diversity and Inclusion.
For more information on We Are One Team (WA1T) visit: