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Teresa Perales Fernández

Teresa Perales FernándezParalympian Swimmer, Politician and Entrepreneur

Teresa Perales Fernández

Teresa Perales, a member of ACE Health Foundation's ACE Global Leaders of Excellence Network, is Spanish swimmer, politician and motivational speaker who has won a total of 27 Paralympic medals at the 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020 Summer Paralympics. She is the most decorated Spanish Paralympian in history.

In 1995, at the age of nineteen, Perales was diagnosed with neuropathy and lost the use of her legs within three months. Following the 2000 Games, she earned a Diploma in Physiotherapy and married Mariano Menor. She later had a child with him following the 2008 Games. In addition to swimming, Perales has been a politician, teacher, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. As an Aragonese Party (PAR) politician, she was in office from 2003 to 2007. Following her departure, she co-wrote an autobiography with her husband. Despite having no plans to return to politics, she was symbolically on the 2011 ballot for PAR as a member of the Congreso de los Diputados. Perales has supported a number of causes including Doctors Without Borders, Fundación Carlos Sanz and Fundación Vicente Ferrer.

Taking up swimming at the age of 19, she joined the Aragon-based disability sport club CAI CDM a year later. A year after that, in 1997, she competed in her first Spanish championships, in which she earned several medals. The following year, she made her national team debut at the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Swimming World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she earned a bronze medal. She then went on to compete in the 1999 European Championship, 2000 Summer Paralympics, 2001 European Championships, 2002 IPC World Championship, 2004 Summer Paralympics, 2006 IPC World Swimming Championship, and 2008 Summer Paralympics. She took a break from swimming following the 2008 Games to give birth to her son. She returned to the pool in 2011 for the European Championship and then competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. She earned at least one medal in every Paralympics, European Championship, and World Championship in which she competed.

Because of her sporting achievements, Perales was awarded the Gran Cruz del Mérito Deportivo and the Medalla de Oro de la Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo. She has earned several other honors including being named the Woman of the Year by the Spanish women's magazine Mujer hoy.

Notable published works

  • Teresa Perales (2007). Mi vida sobre ruedas: La lucha de una mujer, campeona paralímpica, de natación y política, para afrontar con optimismo su discapacidad. Esfera de los libros. ISBN9788497346535 .
  • Teresa Perales (2014). La fuerza de un sueño. Conecta. ISBN9788415431886 .

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