Student Spotlight: Tanner Wright By: Gretchen Cobble
On Sept. 6, 2021, Tanner Wright returned with a warm homecoming celebration to Abilene after finishing fourth at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Wright is a proud Hardin-Simmons University alumnus who is now a graduate assistant here at HSU. He is originally from Fort Worth, graduated from North Crowley High School and transferred to HSU in the spring of 2019 to pursue his academic and athletic career in track and field.
In August of 2019, Wright represented team USA for the Parapan American Games, an international sporting event for athletes with physical disabilities. Wright was born with Arthrogryposis, also known as multiplex congenita, which leaves him with congenital joint contracture in one arm. But his condition has never held him back. Wright received a silver medal in the Para Athletics Men’s long jump T47.
“In terms of trying to help impact kids and all that stuff, that’s the reason I even do track in the first place. It’s just to set an example,” Wright told Big Country News, back in June 2021. “...I just want to inspire everyone out there that you can do whatever you put your mind to.,” said Wright before he left for Tokyo.
“Tanner is one of the most intentional, determined, hard-working, persistent, and passionate athletes I have ever met,” said his friend and former track and field teammate Kaitlyn Callaway, a senior strategic communications major from Tuscola. “His drive in all aspects is evident on and off the track. All the while he encourages everyone around him to be the best they can be.”
After the Parapan Games, the continuation of trainings and workouts did not stop. Wright had been preparing for the 2020 Paralympics ever since his journey at Hardin-Simmons began in January of 2019.
Despite the pandemic pushing the 2020 Olympics back a year, Wright’s perseverance and endurance served him well this past summer as the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020 finally took place and Wright was Tokyo-bound.
Tanner Wright finished fourth in the final Paralympics Men’s 400m T47 and seventh in the final Men’s 100m T47. Way to go, Tanner. Your Hardin-Simmons family is extremely proud of you.