DES MOINES, Iowa — VIDEO ABOVE: Paralympic symbol installed at Odaiba Marine Park
The postponed 2020 Summer Paralympics are underway and several athletes with Iowa ties are set to compete.
Athletes are listed in alphabetical order.
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Jessica Heims, 400m and discus
Heims, 22, is a Cedar Rapids native and University of Northern Iowa graduate. She placed seventh in the 400-meter and 8th in discus at the 2016 Paralympic games. She also won three gold medals for Team USA at the 2019 Para Athletics Grand Prix.
Heims was born with amniotic band syndrome, a condition that causes tissue from the amniotic sac to wrap around an unborn baby's limbs. Her left leg is amputated below the knee.
Erin Kerkhoff, 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x400m
Kerkhoff, 21, is a UNI sophomore and Solon native.
Kerkhoff qualified for the state track meet and Drake relays all four years at Solon High School. In 2019, she was named the WaMac Female Track Athlete of the year and received the All Iowa Courage Award.
Kerkhoff has optic nerve degeneration and is legally blind.
Justin Phongsavanh, javelin
Phongsavanh, 24, is an Ankeny native and DMACC graduate. This is his first time at the international Paralympics but he won gold the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Championships in 2017.
Phongsavanh was paralyzed below the waist after he was shot in a parking lot in 2015. A few months later, he realized he still wanted to compete and reached out to Adaptive Sports Iowa to learn more about Paralympic opportunities.
Matt Stutzman, archery
Stutzman, 38, was born in Kansas but grew up in Fairfield, Iowa. He grew up in a family of hunters and took up archery to help feed them.
Stutzman was born without arms and shoots a bow and arrow with his feet. He won silver at the 2012 Paralympics, but failed to make it out of the elimination round in 2016. This year, he's hoping to move one step up and take home the gold. The "armless archer" also starred in the Netflix documentary Rising Phoenix last year.
Josh Turek, wheelchair basketball
Turek, 42, was born and raised in Council Bluffs. He became the most prolific wheelchair basketball scorer in Southwest Minnesota State University history. He was on the team that placed seventh at the 2004 Paralympics, won bronze in 2012 and gold in 2016.