Swimmer Trischa Zorn-Hudson is the most successful athlete in the history of the Paralympic Games, having won 55 medals, including 41 gold medals, over seven Paralympics.
Zorn, who was born with a genetic eye condition that left her blind, first competed in the Paralympics at Arnhem 1980. Just 16, she won seven gold medals. She won six more gold medals at New York 1984 and continued on from there.
Zorn became the first visually-impaired athlete to earn an NCAA Division I scholarship, becoming a four-time All-American backstroker at the University of Nebraska. USA Swimming created the Trischa L. Zorn Award for a swimmer or relay team with a disability for outstanding performance and excellence.
But while Zorn stood atop the podium on so many occasions, it is a bronze medal finish that she called her most memorable finish. Her mother passed away from breast cancer in June 2004 as Zorn trained for the seventh and final Paralympic Games in Athens later that summer. Zorn won bronze in the 100-meter backstroke.
“She had always attended all my competitions and it was hard to know she was not going to be there,” said Zorn, who carried the American flag at the Closing Ceremony that year. “It was a tribute to my mom.”
Zorn is as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She was inducted into the International Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2012.
Trischa Zorn-Hudson was inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2022.