Natalie Bieule

Sport: Track & Field

On March 8, 2001, Natalie was involved in a car accident that resulted in a below-the-knee amputation. Natalie’s journey from that car accident up to now has not been easy, it has been one filled with challenges and self-realization.

When Natalie’s accident first occurred she had many doctors tell her that she was never going to do a lot of activities that she was once capable of doing. As an 18-year-old dancer with a promising career ahead, this was a difficult reality to accept. Natalie decided to remain physically active and she did this through spinning and kickboxing. However, it was not until she tried CrossFit that she realized her true potential.

It was during Natalie’s CrossFit journey that she attended the 2014 Amputee Coalition meeting in Orlando, Florida. It was at this event that someone called out to Natalie. That someone happened to be a U.S. Paralympic gold medalist, April Holmes. April was Natalie’s first introduction to the possibility of competing for Team USA at the Paralympic Games. From this encounter with April, Natalie soon met the U.S. Adaptive Track & Field’s National head coach and together discovered Natalie’s natural talent in the discus.

Natalie jumped right into discus training and within four months of learning this new sport she was invited to a training camp at U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. Two months later she made the National A team and was prepared to compete at Nationals in San Mateo, California. At Nationals, Natalie set a new American record, which marked her first world ranking. Within nine months she had gone from knowing absolutely nothing about the Paralympic Games to being ranked third in the world. Natalie went on to represent Team USA at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Natalie works closely with The Hartford, a Founding Partner of U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, helping to positively change public attitudes and perceptions about disability.
For more information about Natalie's accomplishments, visit Team USA’s website.
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Photo by Joe Kusumoto