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Benchwarmer turned gold medalist.

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Rico Roman

Finding victory beyond barriers.

  • Sport
    SLED HOCKEY
  • Birthdate
    FEBRUARY 4, 1981
  • Hometown
    PORTLAND, OR
  • Paralympics
    1
  • Vehicle
    Tacoma

Rico Roman is a father, retired Army staff sergeant and gold medalist—in that order. While on his third tour in Iraq, an IED explosion severely wounded him, leading doctors to amputate his left leg above the knee. Once he got back home safely, a veterans group named Operation Comfort introduced him to sled hockey. “I didn’t play hockey. I didn’t grow up watching hockey. And, honestly, I said no a good ten times before I finally gave it a try. I was instantly hooked.”

“Yes, I’ve been knocked down, but I’m still up and running. I’m still living.”

After only eight months, Rico’s coaches could tell he had potential and encouraged him to try out for the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey team. He didn’t make the cut on his first try, but that only made him more determined. After a year of pushing himself on and off the ice, he earned his spot on the team. “I went from being a benchwarmer—knowing nothing about hockey—to starting in the gold medal match.” The U.S. team took home gold in Sochi after shutting out Russia 1 to 0. “I remember looking into the stands and seeing my children’s faces, with their big smiles, and seeing the gold medal. I want to be able to do that again, to share that moment with my children again.”

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