Kelly Crowley, a sports fanatic who happened to be born with a “funny right arm,” is a two-time, two-sport Paralympian. In 2012, she raced as a professional cyclist with Primal/Map My Ride Women’s Team, and won two bronze medals in cycling at the London Paralympic Games. Previously, she won two gold medals in swimming at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games. Kelly was the valedictorian of her class at Santa Clara University, and has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
An athlete from the start
Kelly began her swimming career in the 2nd grade as the slowest 9-year-old in the pool. She went on to swim competitively throughout high school, spending 4 years on the Varsity team. She has also played basketball, volleyball, softball, water polo, and dabbled in rowing and running track. But she gave up swimming (and all other sports) in college and grad school, returning to the water in 2001 only after accidentally finding out about the Paralympic Games.
Paralympic Games, Round 1
Kelly qualified for the US National Paralympic swimming team at her first Disability meet in 2002. Over the course of the next two years she set numerous American records, held two World records (in the 200 Freestyle and the 400IM), and qualified to compete in the 2004 Athens Summer Paralympic Games.
In Athens, Kelly finished 4th in the 50 and 100 Freestyle, 5th in the 100 Butterfly, 6th in the 200 IM, and 7th in the 400 Free. Both of her relays (4 x 100 Free and 4 x 100 Medley) won the gold medal.
Paralympic Games, Round 2
Kelly discovered the sport of cycling in 2006, and promptly raced to become the time trial World Champion in 2007. She sustained serious injuries in a 2008 crash, which sidelined her for 18-months, and forced her to abandon her attempt to qualify for the Beijing Games.
Paralympic Games, Round 3
But in 2010, Kelly decided to try one more time to qualify for the Paralympic Games. She resumed training as a member of the US National Paralympic Cycling Team that year. Thanks to some outstanding results in the 2011 season, Kelly landed a contact with a professional women’s cycling team in 2012. She ultimately qualified to compete in the London Paralympic Games where she won two bronze medals…despite breaking her collarbone in a crash five and a half weeks before the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony.
Kelly is currently working as a USA Swimming coach. She is also teaming up with the Northern California Region Paralympic Sport Clubs to identify and develop Paralympic athletes and help anyone with a disability achieve their athletic goals. She is married to a cyclist/lawyer/chef, owns a cat with a ridiculous amount of personality, and loves to swim, cycle, hike, garden, and eat her husband’s culinary creations.