After a lifesaving operation to remove a tumor that took her right leg at just the age of nine, Lacey Henderson has lived with the mindset of finding any way possible to achieve what she’s wanted to. Fast forward to 2016, that “whatever it takes” attitude earned Lacey a spot on Team USA competing in Rio at the Paralympic Games.
Lacey took some time to open up about her journey and what it’s like competing at the highest level in her sport.
AfterShokz: When did you start competing in Track + Field?
Lacey: I started competing at the end of 2011 initially in Pole Vault and started long jumping in 2013.
AfterShokz: What are your favorite ways to stay active besides Track + Field?
Lacey: I love going on walks and being able to enjoy nature. I recently got into paddleboarding since moving to Austin, because water is always a great way to workout without heavy impact and now I get to enjoy the outside along with it!
AfterShokz: What does it mean to represent the USA as a Paralympian?
Lacey: As a Paralympian, we work closely with the military who has acquired disabilities; I had never considered myself to be overly patriotic until I shared space with people who have almost lost their lives for the things that our flag represents. It left a big mark on me so I try to honor our country as best as I can because the USA has so much to be proud of, and it’s an honor to be part of a country that is continuously evolving and growing.
AfterShokz: Tell us about your experience at the Paralympic Games.
Lacey: The Games were amazing. [For] Rio [I] was crazy unprepared, but it was an incredible moment that felt suspended in time, as if you were arriving somewhere you’ve spent years planning to go, and it finally happens! It was surreal, and I was constantly reminded of the hard work, and thankful for each moment that led me to the village, to that track, and to the pit.
AfterShokz: What type of music do you listen to while you train?
Lacey: Oh man, this varies. When it gets super hot, I listen to a lot of Soka music because it’s more bearable to train in the heat if you can pretend you’re on vacation. I have a lot of Carribean training partners too, so it’s typically a crowd-pleasing genre.
AfterShokz: If you could spread one message, what would it be?
Lacey: No matter who you are, you already have everything you need inside of yourself to achieve greatness. So often we are told we are too much or don't have enough to pursue our goals and it’s just not true. Ultimately, you decide your life, and you find your way to get there.