Annie Carey won three bronze medals for Team USA at the 2023 Parapan American Games in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and the long jump. Carey is a first-year student from Boise, Idaho who competes in many events both in para sports and in able bodied sports. Carey stated that ever since her first para-Olympics event at seven she has loved track. “I want to do this as long as I can. I love the feeling of being free and getting to work on myself.” Carey has the physical disability of having a club foot. She has had it since birth and has to wear a brace in order to compete in track and field events.
Although it may seem tough, Carey never let her foot slow her down. “Track has given me that chance to get my confidence up, gain the strength to show off who I am, I think that is why it is so important to me. When I run, I don’t feel like I have a disability, I feel like part of the team.”
Although Carey is a natural born athlete, she also puts a lot of time into her craft as well. “Since I do go to the Mount now, I have an easier way to train. I have coaches that I can talk to year-round. They really help me separate my event races.” Said Carey. She went onto say, “Before I got here it was a struggle to find training year-round because where I come from we have club track, when I was home, I would have to find ways to adapt to training.”
Adapting is something that Carey has had to become familiar with. Over the last year Carey has moved away from home to Mount St. Mary’s, and has spent significant time traveling for competitions such as the 2023 Santiago Parapan American Games in Chile. When speaking about traveling, Carey talked about its stresses, “It was an overwhelming experience when I was in Chile. The first few days I was in tutoring sessions for econ because I hate feeling behind.” Although there have been challenges, Carey has found a way to balance her studies with her traveling for events, “I put the work in, I tried my best, and that is all I can do.” Carey’s career has been strong thus far, but it has not come without some hardships. “In 2020 I went through a really hard phase. I had a 12-level spinal fusion on my back for scoliosis. That was the year of the Tokyo Paralympic trials. I was really hoping to make that team.”
Situations like that have given Carey a mindset that has been very impactful for her, but it has made her into the athlete that she is. All of these lessons and tribulations have helped Carey as an athlete. She said that she knows in the end, she will end up somewhere that she wants to be. All of the hard work paid off for Carey as she won three bronze medals while representing her country. Although Carey was happy with her performance, for her it is just the beginning. “I am able to go to meets and medal, but it makes me want more” Carey said.