Santiago 2023’s Stars: Hannah Dederick, the Future of the USA’s Para Athletics

At 21 years old, she already has achieved several titles at the Parapan American Games, three of them in this edition of the continental event. Now, she aims to excel at the Paralympic level.

Sunday, November 26th, 2023.- Hannah Dederick stepped onto the podium five times across the Santiago 2023 Parapan American Games, becoming one of the standout figures in Para athletics. 

The 21-year-old American, who celebrated her birthday during the continental event, won the gold medal in the 100m and 1,500m T54 (wheelchair racing), as well as the 400m T53-54. 

She also took home the silver medal in the 800m T53-54 and the bronze in the universal 4x100m relay. 

Born in the Chinese town of Suzhou, she was abandoned at the hospital there and later adopted by Don and Lori Dederick, a family from Spokane, Washington, in 2006 when she was 12 years old. 

Her successes at Santiago 2023 add to those she achieved at the age of 16 at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games, where she won gold in the 100m and 400m, took second place in the 800m and 1,500m, and earned bronze in the 5,000m. She has also excelled with multiple golds at the 2017 and 2019 Nottwil Junior World Championships. 

At the Tokyo 2024 Paralympics, she finished fourth in the 100m, a result she hopes to improve upon in Paris 2024. 

Born with spina bifida, a condition affecting the spinal cord, she underwent corrective surgery. 
Her disability was not an impediment for her to get involved in wheelchair sports in 2015, both in athletics and wheelchair basketball, initiating a career that has only continued to grow, as it became evident in Santiago 2023. 

Written by Felipe Hurtado; translated by Rocio Rojas / Santiago 2023 via Photosport 
Photo by Marcelo Hernández / Santiago 2023 via Photosport