Andre Kajlich, an Edmonds native whose legs were amputated a decade ago, was honored this week by the USA Triathlon as one of two 2012 USA Paratriathlon Athletes of the Year.
According to a profile of Kajlich in The Herald of Everett, he lost both legs in 2003 after getting run over by a train in the Czech Republic, where he was studying at the time. According to Herald writer John Boyle, Kajlich started participating in triathlons in 2010.
Kajlich, who now lives in Seattle, has become prominent in the world of triathlons ever since, winning several championships and recently tackling the Brazil 135, a 135-mile ultra-marathon that takes participants through the South American country's steep mountain terrain.
According to The Herald, the Brazil 135 required some adjustments. Race officials allowed Kajlich to participate only if he was spotted by his support team as he raced up the steep mountain slopes and Kajlich ended up taking on a kilometer of those mountain trails on his hands, pulling his wheelchair behind.
Kajlich maintains a website that describes his past and upcoming events and training at http://willgodo.com/
Kajlich was honored by USA Triathlon this week along with Austin athlete Patricia Walsh.
USA Triathlon had this to say about Kajlich's accomplishments:
Also an honorable mention pick in 2011, Kajlich (TRI-1, Seattle, Wash.) is currently ranked No. 1 in the men’s TRI-1 category, according to ITU. He was a runner-up finisher at USA Paratriathlon Nationals and the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships and captured gold at the 2012 PATCO Paratriathlon Championships. Additionally, Kajlich won the handcycle category at the 2012 Ironman World Championship and Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
“On behalf of USA Triathlon, I’d like to congratulate our USA Paratriathlon Athletes of the Year, Patricia Walsh and Andre Kajlich, as well as all of our inspirational paratriathletes for an amazing 2012 season,” said Amanda Duke, USA Triathlon’s Paratriathlon Program Manager. “We enjoyed outstanding performances in domestic and international competition and look forward to introducing more athletes to our sport as we build toward Paralympic inclusion in 2016.”