April Holmes

Nothing holds her back!
April Holmes is a Paralympic athlete, Classroom Champions Athlete Mentor, Scholastic feature and NOW an Ask, Listen, Learn Superstar! Find out why saying YES to a healthy lifestyle is a part of April’s everyday routine and how it helps her achieve all her dreams!
Paralympic Career:
  • 14x World Record Holder; 18x American Record Holder
  • 2013 IPC World Championship Bronze Medalist (100 meters)
  • 2012 Paralympic Bronze Medalist (100 meters)
  • 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist (100 meters)
  • 2004 Paralympic Bronze Medalist (Long Jump)
  • 16x US Paralympic Track & Field National Champion
  • 2x International Paralympic Committee World Champion
  • 3x International Paralympic Committee World Cup Champion
Honorable Mentions and Other Achievements:
  • US Paralympic & US Anti-Doping Agency Ambassador
  • Congressional Visits for USOC/Paralympic Ambassadors for Federal funding
  • Honorary coach for Inaugural Warrior Games for injured Iraq soldiers
  • Inspiration behind Air Jordan 2009 Signature shoe with APT technology
  • Chicago 2016 Athlete Ambassador for IOC & USOC Olympic & Paralympic Movement
  • National Spokesperson for Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM)
  • Mentor of the Year presented by US Paralympic Committee
  • National Urban League 2012 “Woman of Power”
  • 2013 National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) Pioneer Award
  • Featured in Nick Jonas “Who I Am” & Shaggy “Strength of A Woman” music videos

Learn More About April

April Holmes was lying in a hospital bed when she first heard of the Paralympic Games. She had lost part of her leg in a train accident, and a doctor told her of the competition for disabled athletes. Immediately April began setting goals—to wear the USA uniform, to break records, and to win gold medals.

April’s key to success throughout her recovery and training was perseverance. As she puts it, “It’s not about how bad you want something, it’s about how bad you are willing to work to get that something.” April never gave up and, one by one, she met all of her goals.

Training for the Paralympics sounds difficult. How much of your preparation is physical and how much is mental?

I consider training 100% physical and 100% mental, for it takes all you have physically and mentally to represent the United States and also to be a gold medalist. One of the more challenging things is to make sure you stay focused at all times on your goals. If so, regardless of the outcome, you will be successful knowing you gave your best.

When you were a young athlete, what were your biggest challenges off the track? In particular, how did you decide to say “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking?

Having attended school in the inner city, I constantly reminded myself not to fall victim to some of the negative things around me. I knew so many people in jail, pregnant, on drugs, and consuming alcohol. With every decision I had to make, I always asked myself, “Is it worth it?” My answer dictated my action. So I always allowed school, track, and basketball to keep me busy so I would stay out of trouble.

How did belonging to a team affect your approach to your sport?

When I train, I think about what an honor it would be to be considered one of the best in the United States and one of the best in the whole wide world. So when there comes a day when I am too sore to practice or want to skip practice and do something else, I think of how badly I want to wear the USA uniform and represent this great country.

How do you measure a good race?

I measure a good race based on if I did what I had trained to do, then by what place I finished. You always have to consider that there are times when others may grow, excel, or do better than you. That in no way should reflect how you feel about yourself. Just look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are doing your best and that should determine how you feel.


Have you checked out the Scholastic materials featuring April and her fellow Athlete Mentor Taylor Ritzel and Christian Taylor? Check it out here!

Get all the facts about April’s involvement with Classroom Champions here!

Get all the facts on Classroom Champions here!




A healthy lifestyle is made up of good choices

Leadership takes confidence and dedication

Defining friendship

Navigate your way through obstacles with perseverance

It’s not about how bad you want something, it’s about how bad you are willing to work to get that something.

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