Armed Forces staff sergeant Gideon Connelly was only 21 when a motorcycle accident took his left leg. Nasty scene: the throttle jammed on his bike, and he lost control of it just as a car was coming around the corner. . Taken to Walter Reed Hospital, he was given a choice: wait three years for his leg to possibly recuperate, or amputate now. That was in 2011. In 2016, he was training to run with a prosthetic leg. His goal: to be part of the U.S. Olympics track-and-field team.In 2014, at the Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, he ran the 200-meter dash in 29.4 seconds. At the Invictus Games in 2016, he ran 100 meters in 13.46 seconds, and 27.48 seconds in the 200-meter competition. At the 2016 Paralympic Nationals, he ran 12.9 seconds in 100 meters and in the 200-meter race, he ran 27.2 seconds.
Throughout his post-accident ordeal, his eyes were on the prize: after the hospital, he wanted his old body back. He started lifting and running again. He had to learn how to use a prosthetic correctly, to get the energy return out of it. In Maryland, he went through two coaches, trying to learn technique, style, track workouts, and functional movement. As well, he was working a full-time job. Gideon was always driven. At age 20, in addition to being in the Maryland National Guard, he bartended and worked weekends at Home Depot.His mother had left him with relatives when he was 14. He had been in and out of homes. No dad in the picture, but his two uncles who were incredible role models, and very supportive. He was on his own again after finishing high school. He wasn’t a natural student, but the one thing he did love in school: running track. After his accident, he decided to strive for returning to the sport, but it wasn’t a straight and narrow path. But his two uncles stepped in again and got him on track so to speak. The rest is history with a successful military career in the Armed Forces and just some causal modeling.
An inspiration really.