Tokyo Paralympics: How fitness innovator Josh Cinnamo became an Olympian in his 40s

Josh Cinnamo said of his selection earlier, 'It's been a long time in the making. I started this journey toward the Paralympic Games in 2014'


                            Tokyo Paralympics: How fitness innovator Josh Cinnamo became an Olympian in his 40s
Josh Cinnamo of the United States reacts to his throw in the Men's Shot Put F46 Ambulatory final during the 2021 U.S. Paralympic Trials at Breck High School on June 17, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Paralympic athlete Joshua Cinnamo is one of 61 athletes representing the United States at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Cinnamo, who has congenital limb deficiency — he was born without his right arm below the elbow — will make his debut at the Paralympic Games.

The youngest of three brothers, he quickly became a youth soccer player in Southern California. In high school, he transitioned from soccer to football. During his time in Luther College, he competed in football and track & field. 

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An innovator in adaptive Crossfit, Cinnamo has created the adaptations necessary for arm amputees to participate in training. The gold medalist in the 2019 Parapan American Games and the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in the shot put is also the President of Team Some Assembly Required, a nonprofit organization raising funds to change the narrative around disability and fitness. The current world record holder in the F46 Shot Put category, Cinnamo said of his selection earlier, "It's been a long time in the making. I started this journey toward the Paralympic Games in 2014. To finally have it pay off seven years later with an opportunity to be on the podium representing the United States is extraordinarily satisfying. I've also had a short term sense of relief. It's happened. I've been named to the team. With that, however, comes additional expectations and work. I look forward to the challenge."

Who are Joshua Cinnamo’s wife and kids?

The 40-year-old athlete, who also works as a data center project manager for Minnesota IT Services in Saint Paul, is married to Kate Swenson Cinnamo. They both were in college together in the batch of 2003. The two have been married for 15 years. And they have two kids. Their son Tate and daughter Tess also aspire to be athletes. 



 

“Even though it’s neat what I do and my kids appreciate what I do, it’s honestly more fun for me to watch what they do,” Cinnamo said in an earlier interview. “My son plays baseball and my daughter plays softball, and those are things I’d much rather be watching sometimes than training.” He also added that, “I’m glad, though, they get the opportunity to see the amount of work that gets into being an athlete like this. I hope they can take something from it and realize things don’t come easy, and that if they want to be elite in something they’ve got to work at it every day.”

In a 2019 interview, the athlete said that his home was his haven. “As a family we never saw or treated him any differently,” his brother Chris Cinnamo said. “Even close friends, they never saw him as being ‘different.’ So whether it was going to the park or playing in the backyard with a bunch of friends, he was always with us. And it wasn’t like we were going to give him special treatment. He was one of the boys.” Josh added, “I had a wonderful family. They allowed me to fail, but they also were the most supportive people I could have had.”

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