Paralympian With Ties To UTA Goes For Gold In Tokyo

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Jillian McPhail is proud of her husband John McPhail who is playing in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games.

"Like there's no prouder moment than to know that my husband is there right now," Jillian McPhail said.

But she's not surprised he made it.

"The first time I met him, that's what he was talking about, how he wanted to go to the Paralympics like that was his goal," McPhail said.

John McPhail is a 2015 graduate from the University of Texas Arlington and lives in Arlington.

But he is Australian and is playing for Australia Men's Wheelchair Basketball Team.

"It's definitely his first love that's for sure,” McPhail said. “So I can't compete with it by any means.  But I can't imagine a day where he is not playing basketball.  That's his center," she added.

14 Paralympians from three different countries have connections to UTA.

"It's super exciting and it makes me super proud,” UTA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Head Coach Doug Garner said. “To me, it kind of validates all the work we've put in."

Garner is proud to see what the school's programs are producing.

Garner said he knew John was Olympic material when he played for UTA's Movin' Mavs.

"Personality-wise and resilience wise and also skill-wise he definitely had the potential,” Garner said. “He has always been one of the faster players on the team."

As John competes for Paralympic gold those who know him say he's already winning by being a strong example of what you can do no matter your circumstances.

"Whatever is in your life if you focus hard and generate that positivity in your life anything can happen," Garner said.

"Anyone can do anything that they want when they put their mind, body and soul into it," McPhail said.

John hopes to continue inspiring others and raising awareness through a nonprofit he wants to create in the future.

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