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Tricia Downing & Marco DeLaRosa Earn 2016 U.S. Paralympic Shooting Team Slots through IPC Redistribution

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (August 25, 2016)

Two pistol shooters have been added to the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Shooting Team, following earlier notification Tuesday that CAS had upheld the suspension of the Russian National Paralympic Committee (NPC).  As a result of this decision, reallocated shooting slots were directly awarded by the International Paralympic Committee to Tricia Downing and Marco DeLaRosa for Women’s and Men’s Air Pistol. 

Downing and DeLaRosa add to a U.S. Paralympic Shooting Team that was already the largest in the short history of the sport.  They join Mike Tagliapietra (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin) on the pistol squad set to compete in Rio alongside rifle competitors McKenna Dahl (Arlington, Washington), Jazmin Almlie-Ryan (Houston, Texas), Tammy Delano (Rome, New York) and John Joss (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Corsicana, Texas). 

The 2016 Paralympic Games begin Wednesday, September 7 with the Opening Ceremony.   Downing and DeLaRosa will both shoot on Friday, September 9.    

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday, August 23 dismissed an appeal by the Russian Paralympic Committee against its suspension by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). 

The IPC suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on August 7 due to its inability to fulfill its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). 

The IPC is working with International Federations to redistribute the 267 slots that had been secured by Russian athletes to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. 

Tricia Downing 

Sixteen years after her fate changed drastically, Tricia Downing (Denver, Colorado) is now preparing for one of the pinnacle moments in her life as a 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Member.  

She came to USA Shooting headquarters Tuesday morning just looking to get some practice in.  Moments later National Paralympic Coach Bob Foth was shaking her hand and welcoming her to the team; the fulfillment of a pursuit more than 14 years in the making.  She called her husband, a USA Cycling tech, to say she’d meet him in Houston, site of U.S. Paralympic Team processing.    

“I’m totally excited and thrilled,” Downing said. “It was unexpected, so that makes it even that much more spectacular, so I’m a little bit speechless really. I’m really excited to have this opportunity to represent my country.” 

Out cycling on September 17, 2000, she was hit head on by a car that left her paralyzed from the chest down, requiring a wheelchair for mobility.  The injury reignited her passion for sports as evidenced by the 100 races, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons, she’s competed in since her accident. She was the first female paraplegic to complete an Ironman triathlon and qualified for the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in 2006 and 2010. In 2011, she competed as part of the U.S. Rowing team at the World Championships in Bled, Slovenia. 

Injuries and pain led her to try the sport of shooting in November 2014 and it helped satisfy her need for an athletic challenge as well as the continual satisfaction she derives in sport.  She finished 17th in a 2015 World Cup event in Croatia. Read the steps it took to becoming a Paralympian here. Get to know more about Downing here.   

Marco DeLaRosa 

Marine Corps Veteran Marco DeLaRosa (San Antonio, Texas) has been a quick study in the sport after trying it out during an event with Paralyzed Veterans of America back in 2014. In his first competition at the National Veteran Wheelchair Games, he bested the field by more than 100 points.  

He made a splash in his IPC Shooting debut last November at the World Cup in Fort Benning, Georgia, with an air pistol score of 552.  That rolled into 2016 in which he finished second at a the IPC World Cup in Szczecin, Poland.  Now, he’s reached his goal of being a 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team member. 

“The way I’m feeling makes me think about the Marine Corp motto, Semper Fidelis, which stands for always faithful,” said DeLaRosa. “I’m happy to represent our nation. “In a short amount of time this has all happened and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”  

Born and raised in Chicago, DeLaRosa was stationed at Camp Pendleton in 1993 when he was attempting to stop a robbery outside of the base and was shot in the back. The bullet – which is still in his back – injured his spinal cord at the T4-T5 levels, leaving the now medically retired Marine Corporal a paraplegic. 

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