Tuesday, June 1, 2004
NASHVILLE --- Rising junior Ryan Fann of the Tennessee State University men's track and field squad was recently named to the United States Paralympic Track and Field Team. The Carthage, Tenn. native will be traveling to compete in Athens, Greece at the Paralympic Games in September. Fann, who is one of only 39 athletes named to the elite team, will be competing in the 200m and 400m races. He also has his eye on challenging for a spot on the 4x400 team. Currently, he is second in the world in the paralympic 400m with a time of 53.85. Kelly Carter, head coach of the Tennessee State men's track and field team, was excited about the announcement. "(Ryan) has worked very hard. He is a worthy athlete who deserves all of the accolades he is receiving." he said. "I was speechless," Fann said upon hearing he had made the team. "Its all so unbelievable. I just started running last year and now this." Fann, who had his left leg below the knee amputated after a childhood accident, has consistently turned heads since joining the Tigers' track team last year. He has never finished last in any event he has entered and remains in competition with top non-disabled athletes in the Ohio Valley Conference. With the invitation now extended, Fann hopes to do more than take in the sights in Greece. "My goal is to win the gold," he says with a huge grin on his face. The Paralympic Games are the second-largest sporting event in the world, conceding top honors only to the Olympics. The multi-sport competition showcases the talents and abilities of the world's most elite athletes with physical disabilities. The Paralympics feature 21 sports, 18 of which are also contested in the Olympics. A complete list of the U.S. Paralympic Track and Field team can be found here. More information about the 2004 Paralympics in Athens can be found at here.