American Paralympian Daniel Romanchuk strives to give more access to wheelchair racing with initiative

July 9, 2024
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American Paralympic gold medalist Daniel Romanchuk is looking to bring back more glory from Paris later this summer. But, more importantly, he’s looking to make a difference in some lives.

Romanchuk, a champion wheelchair racer who won the 400-meter T54 and picked up a bronze medal in the marathon T54 at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021, started the nonprofit Wheels for Change to help provide access to equipment for those interested in wheelchair racing in the U.S. and internationally. 

He and his organization partnered with Clif Bar to support the initiative.

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Daniel Romanchuk at the Chicago Marathon

Daniel Romanchuk of the United States crosses the finish line in the men’s wheelchair division during the 2023 Chicago Marathon Oct. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

He told Fox News Digital Wheels for Change has a handful of initiatives, including helping with the cost of a wheelchair.

“There is a pretty big difference between your typical runner and wheelchair racer. If a kid comes home from school and wants to try out for the track team, you can head to your local running store and, 100 bucks later, they’re all ready,” Romanchuk explained. “But for a wheelchair racer, it’s a very different process.

“A basic racing wheelchair costs around $5,000. They’re custom-built for whoever ordered them. The lead time to get one can be up to a couple of months.”

Wheels for Change will have inventory for chairs of different sizes that it can loan out while the athletes raise money and order their own, Romanchuk said.

Daniel Romanchuk waves to the crowd

Bronze medalist Daniel Romanchuk of Team United States poses during the men’s marathon medal ceremony at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium Sept. 5, 2021, in Tokyo. (Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

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Clif Bar has lent a helping hand to the initiative. The company announced in June that Romanchuk and other Olympic athletes were a part of its Clif Corps’ Athlete Coalition.

“One of my long-time sponsors, Clif, has been super helpful. They really encourage their athletes to give back to their communities, and they support us and help us do that as well,” Romanchuk told Fox News Digital.

“We’re super grateful to have Clif committing to help with the funding to start this program.”

Romanchuk said he hoped more people get involved with the initiative as time passes. He hopes to be able to loan out between eight and 12 chairs. He said the organization will also put out videos to help people learn how to train as a wheelchair racer and how to take care of the equipment.

Daniel Romanchuk in the Tokyo Paralympics

Daniel Romanchuk of Team United States competes in the men’s 1500-meter T54 Final at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium Aug. 31, 2021, in Tokyo. (Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

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The Paralympic Games begin Aug. 28 and continue through Sept. 8.

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