Roderick Townsend has been overcoming adversity since his first breath as he was born with damaged nerve endings in his neck resulting in his right arm being much weaker than his left arm. Being born to a single, teenage mother and having a disability has never slowed him down, however. Before his Paralympic success he ran track at Boise State University receiving a full-ride scholarship, where he competed in the decathlon. He then received his master’s degree in education at Northern Arizona University. While at Boise State, he learned about the Paralympics through a teammate and mentor who encouraged him to compete for Team USA. He went on to win two gold medals at the Rio Paralympic Games, a gold and silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, multiple World Championship medals, and is training in multiple disciplines for the Paris Paralympics in 2024. In addition to his Paralympic training, he is a track and field coach for other athletes on their own Paralympic journey. He is in the process of establishing his own nonprofit organization that will build a facility in Glendale, Arizona, that would serve as a year-round training center for Paralympic athletes seeking elite training opportunities.