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Hometown Hopefuls: Meet 4 Seasoned Athletes Looking to Win Gold in Paris

This summer, the world’s top athletes head to Paris, France to vie for gold in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. These four athletes—Michael Norman, Steve Serio, Melissa Stockwell and Gabby Thomas—were chosen for Team Toyota for their fierce determination, unmatched dedication and commitment to character.

Here are their inspirational stories.

Wheelchair Basketball: Steve Serio

Steve Serio has been competing in the Paralympic Games since 2008—the latest in Tokyo 2020, where he led Team USA to defend their gold medal with 28 points.

Diagnosed with a benign spinal tumor at 11 months old, he was left paralyzed after the removal surgery compressed his spine. He first discovered wheelchair basketball during his sophomore year of high school, where he led his team to its first national title and earned MVP honors. After playing for the University of Illinois at Urbana, he began a professional career in Germany, securing four German titles and three European Champions Cup titles.

Track & Field: Michael Norman

Michael Norman secured his first career Olympic medal at 23, winning gold with his teammates in the men’s 4×400-meter relay at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. A 2019 University of Southern California grad, he set collegiate records in every NCAA final he ran, including his 2018 world record in the indoor 400 meter. He triumphed at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, becoming the first U.S. world champion in the 400-meter since 2013.

Paratriathlon: Melissa Stockwell

In 2008, Melissa Stockwell made history as the first Iraq War Veteran to compete in the Beijing Paralympic Games.
Stockwell lost her leg in Baghdad in 2004. The first woman to lose a limb in active combat, she was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for her service. Once an aspiring gymnast, Stockwell didn’t let this stop her love for competitive sports. After competing in swimming at the Beijing Paralympics, she transitioned to triathlon and won bronze in the sport’s Paralympic debut in Rio 2016. Beyond competition, she works in prosthetics and co-founded the nonprofit Dare2Tri, empowering others with disabilities to rediscover their passion for sport and life.

Track & Field: Gabby Thomas

Gabby Thomas is a two-time Olympic medalist who secured silver in the 4×100- meter relay and an individual bronze medal in the 200-meter in the 2020 Tokyo Games. She was a part of the 4×200-meter U.S. relay team that took home gold in the 2019 world relays and also won the 300-meter event at the 2022 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix as a three-time defending champion. The 26-year-old Northampton, MA, native qualified for the USA Track & Field team in 2020 in the 200-meter with a record time of 21.61—the second fastest time in history. A 2019 Harvard grad, Thomas boasts multiple NCAA medals. Embodying Toyota’s ethos of continuous improvement, she earned a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Public Health with a focus in epidemiology. Thomas is determined to give back with goals of transforming the healthcare industry, making countless community efforts focused on resources available for all those in need regarding mental health issues.

To learn more about Steve Serio, Michael Norman, Melissa Stockwell, Gabby Thomas and all of the other Team Toyota Paralympians and Olympians, visit toyota.com/team-toyota. For the most up-to-date information, follow Team Toyota on Instagram @TeamToyota and stay current on their schedules and track their competition results.