Some dream of being a world champion in their sport, but claiming the title for the third consecutive time became a reality for Kendall Gretsch, at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, July 24, 2016. Gretsch is a Madison, (WI) resident who trains with the CXC Para-Nordic Team during the off season as another way to prepare for her triathlons.
“It was so amazing to win my third world championship, especially knowing the races are going to get more and more competitive each year.” Said Kendall Gretsch.
Kendall Gretsch crossing the finish line to claim the World Champion title for the third time. Photo courtesy of Janos M. Schmidt/ITU Media, triathlon.org.
At World Championships, Gretsch competed in a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, and a 5-Kilometer run course where Gretsch proved once again that she is a force to be reckoned with among the PT1/wheelchair women. Gretsch dominated the competition, finishing over 5 minutes and 30 seconds ahead of silver medalist Lizzie Tench of Great Britain and Spain’s Eva Moral Pedrero who grabbed the bronze medal.
Gretsch’s first official year competing in triathlons was in 2014 when her winning streak began and there are no signs of her slowing down.
Gretsch grew up swimming with her neighborhood and high schools teams, but it wasn’t until college when she got involved in adaptive sports and triathlons. Gretsch joined the triathlon team Dare2tri, which has a big emphasis on youth programs and provides adaptive equipment and coaching to kids of all ages.
“Sports was such an important part of my childhood, so I know how important this is.” Recalled Gretsch. “I’ve seen how participating in triathlon and other adaptive sports can build a kid’s sense of confidence, especially when they are able to race side by side with their peers.”
With Gretsch’s determination and hard work along with the accessibility to programs such as Dare2tri, Kendall has accelerated in her sport in just three years and making it to the big stage at World Championships.
During Gretsch’s success in triathlons, she continued to explore other adaptive sports as well. Kendall began working with CXC’s Para-Nordic program where she tried sit-skiing. After nearly two years of learning, Gretsch caught on quickly and is now hoping to ramp up her training in skiing to start competing this winter.
Kendall on the roller ski treadmill at the CXC Center of Excellence in Madison, (WI).
“Everyone knows what a positive impact sports can have, and that’s just as important for kids with disabilities.” Explains Gretsch. “Without adaptive sports programs, competing in sports wouldn’t be possible for a lot of kids.”
Kids trying out sit-skis at a Badgers Adapt Clinic hosted by the CXC Adaptive Program.
Gretsch is an inspiration to many, as she continues to work hard and chase her dreams.
CXC’s third annual Eriksen Bike Drawing fundraiser, going on now through October 3rd, supports the CXC Adaptive Program for youth with physical disabilities and visual impairments. Over 50 tickets have already been sold in just two weeks. Support adaptive youth through a purchase of a ticket to win a custom designed, hand crafted Eriksen titanium road frame. PURCHASE A TICKET!