Ann Yoshida: Mormon Athlete
Ann Yoshida is the first female native Hawaiian Paralympian and she competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She took fifth in her first heat but did not finish in the semifinal when she flipped in choppy, windy conditions. Previous to the games she earned medals at the 2013 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Germany and the 2012 IVF Va’a World Sprint in Canada. After the games, she surfed as a member of Team Hawaii at the 2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive surfing Championship.
She was born on October 10, 1977, in Mililani, Hawaii. Yoshida’s father was a fisherman and her mother a surfer and growing up she learned to feel at home on the water and to respect it. In Hawaii, outrigger canoeing has a long history.
She was paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident in Utah in 2000. She also suffered a brain injury and a ruptured aorta. After two years of recovery, she entered the water again, first as a surfer, then she moved onto kayaking.
Yoshida is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is pursuing a PhD in occupational therapy. Her motto is "When you focus on being normal, you exclude the possibility of being extraordinary."