Jessica Long

By: Briana Yazbek


  • The youngest paralympian in attendance and the youngest to win gold
  • Did gymnastics for 6 years
  • Jessica’s parents, Beth and Steve Long, who live in Middle River, adopted Jessica from Russia knowing that she was born without proper bone structure in her legs
  • Maryland Swimming's 2003 Female Swimmer of the Year with a Disability.
  • Worked with Coca-Cola, Visa, and Ralph Lauren
  • Has over 20 medals
  • In 2012 she met her birth parents


  • Swimming has opened countless doors for Long, from motivational speaking to modeling to sponsorship's with companies like Coca-Cola.
  • Swimming has made her more disciplined in all aspects of life, and stressed the importance of setting short-term and long-term goal
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Sports as a subculture

  • Jessica says she always loved swimming, and she joined her first competitive swim team at the age of 10
  • At the age of 15, the 2007 AAU Sullivan Award, given to the nation’s top amateur athlete
  • In 2008, Long came to the Beijing Games with high expectations – and was disappointed when she “only” won four gold medals, a silver, and a bronze, and set three new world records.
  • She took a short break and then returned to live and compete at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.


  • She was skiing with her friend and on the ski lift her legs fell off so she was laughing while other people were looking at her weird and screaming
  • She was only 13 months when she had to get surgery to remove her legs, learning how to crawl and walk on just the nubs she had at 13 months was a struggle
  • She didn't get her prosthetic legs until she was almost 10 years old, learning how to walk with those was another struggle she had to cope with
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  • In 2004, at the age of 12 Jessica won 3 gold medals at the Athens paralympics
  • In 2006 she was U.S Olympic Committees paralympian of the year
  • in 2007 she won the AAU Sullivan Award, she was the first paralympian to receive this award
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  • In 2008 she attended the Beijing games and was disappointed when she “only” won four gold medals, a silver, and a bronze, and set three new world records.
  • AT 16 she wanted to retire because she felt she failed at the Beijing games
  • She was the first Paralympian to receive the AAU Sullivan Award beating out such high-profile athletes such as fellow swimmer Michael Phelps, and is still the only athlete with a disability to win the award in its 82-year history.

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Symbolic theory

  • Jessica learned life lesson's from the Olympics that she has carried with her through her career
  • Jessica hopes that being in the Olympics while having this disability will set an example and be a positive role model for kids
  • She never thought that with her disability she would ever make it this far, but she never gave up and look where she is now
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  • Having a disability like no arms and legs is tough but no matter what people don't give up and they keep doing what they love to do
  • You don't need to be perfect to be a model, Jessica models with no legs for big companies like Coca Cola
  • Never let anything get in the way of your dreams