Born with several rare birth defects as the result of popliteal pterygium syndrome, a five-year-old Rudy Garcia-Tolson had already endured 15 surgeries to attempt to straighten his legs. Faced with a lifetime in a wheelchair, Rudy made the brave choice at that young age to amputate both legs. It was then that his life truly began.
When he was eight years old, he stated that he would swim in the 2004 Paralympic Games. He was true to his word and won the gold medal in the 200 meter individual medley and broke the world record for his SM7 class. Rudy is now a 5-time Paralympic medalist as of 2018.