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Home Features Star Day GH's Réal Andrews' Teammate, Rudy Garcia-Tolson

GH's Réal Andrews' Teammate, Rudy Garcia-Tolson


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A profile of inspiration, motivation and courage

Rudy Garcia-Tolson & Real Andrews (Taggert, GH) Photo:  Billy JTeam Bravehart's Rudy Garcia-Tolson

A Profile of Inspiration, Motivation and Courage

If you think you are having a bad day, or that you can't find the time to get to the gym for some much needed exercise, meet Rudy Garcia-Tolson, a super teen with severe physical challenges. Has he let that hinder his love of life and competitive sports?  No way! 

We first met up with Rudy two years ago when he served as Captain of Team Braveheart. Rudy is a hero to Réal Andrews.  (See One-on-One with Réal Andrews).  He was born with rare multiple congenital birth defects.  A combination of leg crippling Pterygium Syndrome, one club foot, the fingers of both hands webbed, and a cleft lip and palate. 

The first five years of Rudy's life were spent confined to a wheel chair watching from his window as all the other children played outside.  After over 15 (count them – 15!) surgeries, the doctors at Loma Linda University Hospital gave his parents a choice.  Amputate both legs at the knees and fit him with artificial limbs, or prepare him for a lifetime in a wheelchair. 

His loving and devoted parents mustered all their strength, and made a very difficult decision, but one that freed Rudy to be "just like the other kids!"  In the five years following the amputation, Rudy has adapted to, and excelled at, anything he has attempted, from honor student status in school, to swimming, cycling, and running in triathlons.  During a recent guest appearance on the Oprah show, Rudy invited Oprah to compete along with him in his next triathlon.  Guess what?  Oprah agreed! 

Rudy Garcia-Tolson and Real Andrews (Taggert, GH)"As far as society goes," said Réal Andrews, "Rudy's handicapped. But as far as Rudy's concerned, he's not."

No matter where Rudy goes, or what he does, his courage is always acknowledged by cheers, tears, handshakes and hugs.  His ultimate goal is to compete in the Paralympics in the year 2004.  We have no doubt that he will meet his objective.

Rudy engages in competitive swimming and swam the swimming portion of the 18th Annual LA Triathlon as a member of relay Team Braveheart along with Réal Andrews and Claudio Del Pueche.  He also participates in competitive running, cycling, triathlons, football, baseball, basketball, and skateboarding! Not only does he compete with all his heart and soul, he wins!

  • 1997 "Challenged Athlete of the Year" (at age 8)
  • 1998 Christine MacIntyre Memorial Award/IDEA World Conference (at age 9)
  • 1998/90 Youngest Challenged Athlete to ever qualify and medal at Disabled Swim National.
  • American Record Holder in the 200 Meter Breaststroke.
  • 1999 Youngest bilateral amputee to ever compete an entire solo triathlon (at age 10)
  • 2000 Sets a 1 mile running personal best record of 7:20 and 5K (3.1 miles) of 24:00.
  • Has raced on triathlon relay teams with many celebrities including Robin Williams and Réal Andrews.
  • Has appeared on numerous local and national television programs.
  • Helped carry the torch at the Summer Olympics in Australia. 


StarDay with Réal Andrews Continues!


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