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MARTHELL VAZQUEZ

Paralympic Soccer Team

Photograph by Patrik Giardino

25, 5 feet 7, Compton

Trains at: U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista and Bixby Knolls Park in Long Beach. The road taken: “I have cerebral palsy. When you play, you are classified five through eight. Five is the worst disabled; eight is the least disabled. I am a class five because of my legs. When I run, it looks like I’m bowlegged. But I feel normal.” Psych factor: “We want to win for our team captain, Josh McKinney, because he’s been on the team for 17 years. We owe him a lot.” Superstition: “In warm-ups before the game,
I don’t like to shoot at the goal. That means I’ll score in the game.” What you should know: The 2012 Paralympic Games take place after the Olympics, in late August. The U.S. squad finished eighth at the last world championships, behind powerhouses Russia, Iran, Ukraine, and Brazil. Life after London: “I still want to play soccer, and I still want to be on the team. We’re young. We’re going to be good.”

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