Meet The Co-Captains

TeamUP Co-Captain

Erik Olson

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LIVES IN: Bridger, MT

: Certified Optician, Police Officer, Radio/TV Voice Over Narrator

Wears an Allard AFO because of
: Rigid range of motion (ROM), Lower Right Leg due to congenital Clubfoot

: Allard
BlueROCKER®2 ½

BlueROCKER®: Probably my 2nd Place para finish at Ironman 70.3 Arizona. 1st Big Race with “Carbon Elektra”.

: Sports are 50% training and 90% mental. Your mind will get you through things you never imagined, long after you think your body has checked out.

: Triathlon, Cycling, Motorcycles, hunting, fishing, traveling.

: Never, ever quit until you draw your last breath. I’ve lived with some form of chronic pain my whole life, but it’s only pain, and you can’t remember it or relive it, so don’t worry about it. Whatever your passion or struggle…The law enforcement academy taught me, quitting is NEVER an option.

: I was a nationwide radio DJ in country and rock radio, and participated in broadcasts all over the country. I’ve interviewed 100s of artists in the music industry.

I’m proud to call myself many different things: para-triathlete, competitive cyclist, police officer, certified optician, hunter, fisherman, guitar player and—most importantly—husband, father and grandpa.
In the last couple of years a few things have changed. I am now a grandpa of 3 boys! Holden, born in 2022, Braxton, now 2 ½, and Nick, 17! I think I’m getting old! I am now a full-time police officer after attending the academy in January 2022. The physical fitness requirements were tough, but manageable. I wasn’t the fastest…but got it done in required time without much difficulty. My last 2 kids recently graduated high school and are now moving on to life in the “big leagues.” Weird that the house is so quiet.

My journey to “get back up” started with the congenital birth defects, including Prune Belly Syndrome (PBS) and Clubfoot. These “hidden disabilities” are neuromuscular diseases with no known cure. PBS is rare, and can affect the urinary system, the kidneys and the formation of your abdominal muscles—among other side effects. Cases vary. Clubfoot can also vary in terms of severity and can result in a normal looking foot or a deformed one, but even successful procedures can lead to issues later in life such as: the inability to be on your feet for extended periods, osteoarthritis, smaller lower leg, less strength and balance and chronic pain of varying degrees.

I did a lot of research on the topic. I looked at braces, exoskeletal devices, wraps, artificial limbs (many people with Clubfoot opt for amputation below the knee, or rarely-successful fusions) and ankle-foot-orthoses (AFOs). I talked with my doctor about perhaps finally going the amputation route, but we opted to give an Allard AFO a try first while still researching other options that would accommodate my many activities.

I tried my first Allard brace in the orthotist’s office and didn’t want to give it back! My doctor and I thought this AFO would help limit the flexion of the ankle and foot, preventing pain while still allowing a full rollover of the foot while running. Then we decided a stiffer model AFO was probably better for my activity level provided that “repetitive-use” comfort was still there. In looking at the designs, and in talking with TeamUP Co-Captain Becky Piper about her BlueROCKER®, we decided on the same for me as well. Once I got properly fitted for my own AFO, thanks to some great information from the company itself, I was able to get a perfect fit. I started running again without foot pain!

Now, thanks to “Carbon Elektra” (the name I gave my BlueROCKER®) and Operation Rebound, a part of Challenged Athletes Foundation that specifically provides support for adaptive military and first responders, I’m competing as much as ever in para-Triathlon and Cycling. My last USAT-ranking was 19th in Para Men in the US! I’ve also begun competing in USA Cycling and Para Cycling Nationals.

My brace really has changed my life for the better—I wish I had found it sooner! I was going through life just thinking this was as good as it gets, but now I know that was not true. I have met many people in the para community, sponsors, other athletes with challenges and the people at Allard who continue to inspire and help me be a better athlete, and person. I’m currently chasing a spot in the top 10 in men’s Para-triathlon and Cycling! Thanks Allard!

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