Rudy Garcia-Tolson was born September 14th, 1988 in Bloomington, California. The youngest of 4 children.
At age five, having already undergone 15 surgeries to correct a rare birth defect, Garcia-Tolson elected to amputate both legs above the knee. He opted for greater mobility and a full, active life with prosthetics
Undaunted, he began swimming, then running, and has been winning ever since! By age 15, he had won a Gold medal in the Paralympic Games breaking world records in swimming.
When he was eight years old, he stated that he would swim in the 2004 Paralympic Games. He was true to his word and won the gold medal in the 200 meter individual medley and broke the world record for his SM7 class.
In 2008 Beijing Paralympics, when he was 20, he again won the gold medal in the 200 meter Individual Medley event, breaking his own SM7 world record twice in the process. He also won bronze medal in 100m breaststroke SB7.
At the 2012 Paralympics in London, he broke the SM7 world record in 200 meter Individual Medley heat. In the final, both he and Yevheniy Bohodayko swam faster still. Bohodayko touched the wall first; Garcia-Tolson won silver.
As part of 2012 Paralympics, Rudy also qualified and competed on 100 meters and 200 meters track and field.
At the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Garcia-Tolson broke his PR (personal record) and gain back the AR (American Record) in 100m breaststroke SB7. In the 200meter Individual Medley again he broke his PR and won silver.
Garcia-Tolson competed in first his triathlon at age 8, as the swimmer in a winning relay team. He raced with celebrities including Robin Williams as part of Team Braveheart.
At age 10, he completed the first of many individual triathlons.
In 2006, he completed the Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Clearwater, Florida. He attempted the 2009 Ironman World Championship in Kona but missed the bike cut by 8 minutes. Six weeks later, at Ironman Arizona, he became the first double above-knee amputee to complete a full Ironman Triathlon.
Rudy has spoken across the country to groups ranging from Fortune 500 companies to inner city public schools.
His blend of energy and humor inspires organizations and individuals to adopt his swim motto, No Legs No Limits, A Brave Heart is a Powerful Weapon, as their new standard of excellence
Rudy shares stories about choosing to amputate his legs at a young age, swimming in the Paralympics, and playing jokes with his prothetic legs to give motivation for overcoming adversity and reaching peak performance.
Rudy tailors his message for each audience, so his presentations are a one-of-a-kind combination of spectacular entertainment and practical, customized inspiration.
Audience members of all ages and backgrounds walk away from his speech with a renewed sense of hope for the future and a determination to live their lives without limitation, to maximize their potential in work and life.
They will carry Rudy's universal message of courage, determination, and hope in their hearts and minds long after the conclusion of the meeting. Invite Rudy to speak.
In 2003, Garcia-Tolson was named one of Teen People Magazine's "20 Teens Who Will Change the World". He has won several awards, including the Arete Courage in Sports Award and the Casey Martin Award from Nike. Following his success at Ironman Arizona, he was nominated for an ESPY Award in 2010. Since early age, Rudy is an ambassador for Challenged Athletes Foundation, a foundation whose goal is to provide physically challenged atletes with the tools they need to pursue active and healthy lifestyles.