Kortney' story has captured the attention of the media and public alike. He's been profiled by CNN, USA Today, the Versus network, BET, MSNBC.com, the New York Times, and Essence magazine, along with many regional newspapers and television stations.
In April 2007, ABC News named him its "Person of the Week." Book publisher John Wiley & Sons recently bought his memoire, Amped: A Soldier Chase for Gold in the Shadow of War.
Kortney Clemons story is one for our times. He was the first Iraq war veteran to qualify for the U.S. National Paralympic Championships, becoming the national Paralympic champion in the "all-comers" 100-meter sprint with a personal record of 15.61 seconds.
|Amputation||Above the Knee|
|Main Events||100m, Long Jump|
US Paralympic Championship Trials
Who has been the biggest supporter in your career?
"Family and friends (OSSUR)"
Who first got you interested in your sport and who influenced you to take up a competitive sport?
"John Register inspired me to get involved in track and field. I became interested in running after seeing him run at a Paralympic Sport Clinic in 2005. My parents instill the competitive nature in me by encouraging me to participate in sport at an early age."
What has been your best career highlight so far?
"Being named to the 2011 Paralympic World Championship team."
Who has been your toughest opponent and why?
"My training is my toughest opponent. If I am able to conquer my training then my performance will speak for itself."
What is your ultimate sporting ambition?
"To be the best at what I do and represent my country well."
Who in your opinion is the greatest athlete ever? / Do you have an idol for your sport?
"Walter Payton/ No one"
What are your favorite Össur products and why?
"RHEO KNEE, it allows me to walk at several cadences and it looks good. I also like the VSP because of the energy return and it looks cool."
What specific support has Össur provided for you, technical or otherwise?
"Össur provides me with best equipment."
How has Össur contributed to your success?
"I feel like I am running and walking on the best there is and to be success in track and field you have to believe your equipment."
Do you have an inspirational quote or motto that you use?
"Live everyday like it is your last."
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
"Stay true to yourself."
Do you have any pre-event superstitions?
Who would play you in a film of your life?
What is on your iPod when you are training?
Tell us something we'd be surprised to know about you?
"I cannot swim. "
What is the worst part of your training regime?
If you weren't an athlete what would you be doing?
What do you like doing outside of your sport?
When you have time to see your friends, what do you like to do?
"Go out to dinner/play games/watch football (College/NFL)"
A native of Little Rock, Mississippi, Kortney claims that he has always loved sports. Prior to joining the Army, he played junior college football at East Mississippi Community College.
It seemed like Kortney's sporting life might be over when he was injured while on patrol outside of Baghdad in February 2005, while serving his last few days as a combat medic in the 1st Cavalry Division to fight Iraq.
"We were on our way back to camp when we came across an overturned U.S. Humvee. There was a wounded soldier half inside, half outside. We got him onto a stretcher and at the guard rail, crossing over the median; there was an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). The two soldiers who were assisting me were killed instantly, as was one other who was standing by us. I knew I was injured pretty badly." But it wasn't until he woke to find he had been transported to a military hospital in Germany that he discovered that one leg was gone above the knee and the other had been hit by shrapnel. "I had to get a lot of surgery," he says "and a lot of vascular work." Kortney recovered at Brooke Army Medical Center over a period of ten months.
"After my injury happened, I was introduced to new sports like power lifting and running," he says. "And I began to have that same feeling I once had from Friday football nights." According to Kortney, competing gave him back the energy he needed to get back into having a career. "Turns out that while I enjoying that feeling of participating in sports again, without even knowing it, I was getting rehabilitated," he adds.
He initially started competing in power lifting at the Pan-American Games in Rio, while simultaneously training on the track. It wasn't until the end of October 2007 that he decided to drop power lifting and chose to commit to track and field as his chosen sport. "I think my heart is in running," he says, "it was an easy choice for me to be able to stick with track and field, and I want to do something I love. I always wanted to compete in sprinting at a competitive level," he says.
Kortney runs with Össur's Flex-Foot Cheetah®. For daily use in his active life, he uses the Mauch® Knee combined with the Re-Flex VSP® foot.