Swimmer Anastasia Pagonis has won Team USA’s first Paralympic gold in Tokyo. The 17-year-old is a larger-than-life TikTok star in her own right, while her dog, Radar, is almost as famous as her! Here’s more on Pagonis disability and life.
Anastasia Pagonis wins Team USA’s first gold medal of Tokyo Paralympics
17-yer-old Anastasia Pagonis has won Team USA’s first Paralympic gold at the 2020 Paralympic Games.
She even smashed her own world record in the final of the S11 400m freestyle.
Pagonis set a world record in the heats earlier in the week, but eclipsed that with a time of 4:54.49 on Thursday.
What is Anastasia Pagonis’ disability?
Anastasia Pagonis is blind, having started to lose her sight at the age of 11 before completely going blind at 14.
Pagonis is classified as an S11, SB11 and SM11.
S11 is for swimmers with near-total visual impairment, and Pagonis hugs the lane line as a guide, tapping it with her fingers every three strokes.
“If someone told me during that dark eight months I had [when I lost my vision] that I would be competing in the Paralympics two years later, I would not believe them. I would’ve laughed right in their face,” she said before the Paralympics.
Pagonis has genetic retina disease and autoimmune retinopathy, which caused her to lose her vision.
Her guide dog Radar has been a massive help
Anastasia Pagonis’ dog Radar has been a huge inspiration and help to the young swimmer.
It was when she first got the Labrador puppy that she started seriously training for the Paralympics.
“He’s changed my life,” she said in an interview. “I didn’t have any freedom or independence before him, and now that I have him, I feel like a totally different person.”
They train for several hours a day together, with Radar recently travelling with Pagonis to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“Having Radar has just given me so much independence and I’m literally in love with him. He’s the best thing ever,” she said. “We’re a match made in heaven.”
Pagonis is huge on TikTok
The Paralympic gold medallist has over 2 million followers on TikTok and is a star in her own right.
She uses the platform to educate the public about the blind community and Paralympic sports, as well as generally goofing around.
Does Anastasia Pagonis have a boyfriend?
The teenager, who is from Long Island, New York, has not shared any information about her dating life.
It’s believed Anastasia Pagonis is single and does not have a boyfriend.