Jessica’s life has been nothing short of amazing. Born to a teenage mother in the Siberia cold, burdened by congenital defects in her legs, and placed for adoption at 13 months old, Jessica was able to persevere to become one of the most decorated female athletes in US history.
However, it was not without setbacks. At just 18 months old, Jessica’s legs were amputated below the knee due to a rare bone disorder called fibular hemimelia, but her adopted family would not let her physical differences limit her potential. With an unrelenting determination and belief in herself, Jessica has been able to reach the pinnacle of her sport and maintain her position amongst the best in the world for over a decade.
Now as one of America’s most decorated champions, her work focuses on winning in the water and inspiring others outside the pool. It’s through her struggles that she has learned to grow and thrive as a champion and person, and her message of hope resonates with all walks of life.
In fact, Jessica’s story inspired the most well received Super Bowl commercial of 2021, which highlights her story and the deep connections she has with her partners. Watch it below!
Thirteen-time Paralympic champion (2016: 200m IM; 2012: 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 100m butterfly, 200m IM, 400m freestyle; 2008: 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 200m IM, 400m freestyle; 2004: 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 34 pt. 4x100m freestyle)
Twenty three-time Paralympic medalist (thirteen golds, six silvers, four bronzes)
Fifty two-time world championship medalist (thirty five golds, fifteen silvers, two bronzes)