Alana Nichols grew up in Farmington, New Mexico living an active lifestyle by participating in multiple athletics and having a passion for skiing and snowboarding. In 2000 during a ski trip in Colorado, she suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury while snowboarding, paralyzing her from the waist down. Thinking her athletic career was over, she experienced a wheelchair basketball game her freshman year at the University of New Mexico. The physical and competitive gameplay reignited her athletic endeavors and later she transferred to the University of Arizona to participate in the intercollegiate program for disabled sports. She later received her master’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Alabama.
Since, she has competed in several Paralympic Games and is the first woman Paralympian to win gold medals at both Summer and Winter games. Debuting at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, she won the gold competing in women’s wheelchair basketball. But she wouldn’t stop there, as she went on to compete in the next four consecutive Paralympic games, winning 2 more gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze. She has competed in wheelchair basketball, alpine skiing, and at her final Paralympic Games in Rio, canoeing.
Alana may have retired from her Paralympic career, but while in the mix of training for her multiple events, she developed a new passion for surfing that which, like most of the things she does, she excels. She has competed in the ISA Worlds Adaptive Surfing Championship in 2015, placing 7th in an all-male field in the upright division. With her beautiful newly born baby boy Gunnar and her husband Roy Tuscany, she will continue surfing, working to implement adaptive surfing into the 2024 games, being an amazing athlete, and even better mother and person.