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Athlete Spotlight

Stephanie Zundel


Paige Gray-Hackler

Team USA Tandem Team

This spring Stephanie (right, tandem stoker) and Paige (left, tandem pilot) took on the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships and raced their way onto the podium. Together they took home bronze medals in the tandem sprint tournament.

Both cyclist have been training for just over 2 years, but the duo weren’t matched up until July of 2019. Since then their hard work and determination has made them a force to be reckoned with. Now they are working toward a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Q&A With Steph

1. What’s your favorite post training session food?

An impossible/beyond burger (I’m vegetarian)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up / current occupation / or both?

I am currently an elementary school counselor for Douglas County
School District, and I love it! I love teaching young kiddos
foundational social-emotional skills. I think it is so important for
kids to learn these skills while they are young. I also think it is
very helpful for them to meet and interact with a blind person and a
guide dog. I encourage my students to ask any questions about my
blindness and my service dog.

3. Where are you from?

I am originally from New Jersey. I lived in Nashville, TN for 6 years
where I went to college and grad school.

4. Can you tell me a little bit about Para Track Worlds? What was the
experience/atmosphere like?

It was an incredible experience. It was amazing to interact with and
watch all the athletes from all areas of the world. It was so fun to
learn about everyone’s own stories/disabilities and their own
techniques. We did not get to race the main event we trained for and
then our kilometer did not turn out how we thought it would, so it
took a lot of determination and perseverance to keep going; but we did
and we ended up achieving the first American medal for tandem sprints.

5. What is your biggest motivation while training?

I love that tandem cycling is a team sport. I am motivated to improve
my own skills not only to make myself stronger and a better athlete,
but to help us as a team improve and get stronger.

6. What is your favorite workout?

Definitely flying 200s! And standing starts are really growing on me.

7. If you had one piece of advice you could share what would it be?

“Success is not perfection; success is always trying your best,
staying motivated, and never giving up.”

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