Jessica Long was inspiring people around the world even before she became the second-most decorated Paralympian in U.S. history with 23 Paralympic medals. Long grew up in Baltimore, Md., but is originally from Siberia, where she was adopted from a Russian orphanage at 13 months old. Born with fibular hemimelia, she was missing the fibulas, ankles, heels, and most of the other bones in her feet. At 18 months old, her legs were amputated below the knees so she could be fitted for prosthetic legs and learn to walk. Long fell in love with swimming in her grandparents’ backyard pool and joined her first competitive swim team at the age of 10. Just two years later, she competed in the Paralympic Games Athens 2004 as the youngest athlete on Team USA. Now 27 years old, she has collected 13 Paralympic gold medals, 31 world titles, and multiple world records. Long has inspired others to chase their dreams throughout her career, and she has found a new sense of purpose through giving back to the sports community, advocating for the Paralympic Games and Para-athletes, and showing young girls they are valuable and strong. She continues to train in Baltimore with eyes on a fifth-straight Paralympic appearance at Tokyo 2020.