USA Triathlon has named Kendall Gretsch and Brad Snyder, along with his guide Greg Billington, as the 2021 Elite Paratriathletes of the Year. The awards recognize their standout performances on the world stage throughout the 2021 season.
In a highlight moment of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, Kendall Gretsch caught Australia’s Lauren Parker at the tape to win her first Paralympic gold medal in paratriathlon in the women’s PTWC race, which made its Paralympic Games debut.
The Tokyo paratriathlon gold was Gretsch’s third Paralympic gold medal, alongside the two she earned at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games in Nordic skiing. Her achievement in Tokyo made her the fifth American – third female – to win gold at both the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games.
“I am honoured to be recognized with this award, especially considering how successful the entire US paratriathlon team was in 2021,” Gretsch said. “I’m thankful for all the support I’ve received from so many people to help me chase and achieve my goals.”
Brad Snyder, with Greg Billington as his guide, won gold in the men’s PTVI classification at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, becoming the first US man – Paralympic or Olympic – to win a medal in an individual triathlon competition at the Games.
The gold medal adds to Snyder’s seven (five gold, ed.) he won as a Paralympic swimmer in the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games before transitioning to paratriathlon in 2018.
Billington, a 2016 US Olympian, teamed up with Snyder as his guide in June 2021. The pair made massive strides in their training in the final months of preparation before the Paralympic Games, including winning the US national title at the 2021 Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships in Long Beach, California.
“This is an incredible honour and 2021 was an incredible year full of wonderful memories,” Snyder said. “It was amazing to stand on the podium in Tokyo with Greg and share that moment with him after winning gold together.”