The United States Olympic Committee honored Watkinsville’s Jarryd Wallace and his teammates on the World Champion 4×100-meter relay team Tuesday in New York.
Wallace along with Blake Leeper, Richard Browne and Jerome Singleton were recognized as the Paralympic Team of the Year by the USOC who held a special event at the DoubleTree Hilton in Times Square as part of the 100-day countdown to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Wallace was part of the gold-medal winning relay team at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, in July. They set a world record time of 40.73, shattering the old mark of 41.78, held by South Africa. Additionally, Wallace won gold in the T44 200 event. The relay team missed out on a medal at the 2012 London Paralympic Games due to an exchange-zone violation and then stormed back 10 months later to earn the top spot on the podium at the World Championships.
“It was an awesome trip to New York and great to hang out with the guys from the relay team because I hadn’t seen them since France,” Wallace said in a news release. “One thing a lot people don’t know is that when we won in France, it was only the second time we’d ever run together in a race. We’re planning on training more together and hopefully get more opportunities to race and drop our times.
“To receive the Team of the Year award, it was really special,” Wallace said. “We were introduced last, and it was neat to watch everybody else get their award, and it was just humbling to be up there on stage with the other award winners.”
Wallace, a former state-ranked athlete in both track and tennis at Oconee County High School, signed a track scholarship with the Bulldogs in 2007. However, due to compartment syndrome in his right leg and subsequent surgeries, he was never able to compete. In February of 2010, he made the decision to have his leg amputated with the goal of not just being able to run again but to compete one day as a Paralympian. He is the son of Jeff and Sabina Wallace. Jeff is the head women’s tennis coach at UGA while Sabina is a former All-SEC distance runner for the Bulldogs.