Legacy After The Locker Room Podcast: S3:EP3–Jonathan Heider, Paralympic Athlete

Join us for S3:EP3 of the Legacy After the Locker Room Podcast as Jonathan Heider, a Paralympic athlete sits down with our host Kayla Bradham to discuss his journey to the Paralympics and his mission today for diversity and inclusion, alongside a passion for architecture and design. 

Born during the Croatian Civil War of Independence (1991-1995), Jonathan was placed in an orphanage at birth from his biological family. Knowing of his soon-to-be adoptive parents, a nun on a mission found him and immediately reached out to them; stating that she found a little boy with no arms and no legs and asked if they wanted him. Sight unseen, they said yes without hesitation.
Fast forward, as a high-energy kid in small-town Wisconsin, Jonathan soon plunged into the world of athletics, quickly grasping the sport of swimming. Starting off locally, swimming quickly took him to the national stage as well as the international stage where he competed in Junior Nationals, Junior Worlds, Worlds, Pan-American Games, Canadian Open, Greek Open, and many others.
In 2010, he humbly accepted a position on the resident team at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he trained full-time as a Paralympic Swimmer. During this time Jonathan began educating and advocating on accessibility, diversity, and inclusion through speeches, workshops, and events.
In 2014, to continue Jonathan’s advocacy and education in diversity and inclusion, he signed with a public speaking agency out of Minnesota called The College Agency. This agency allowed him to speak to colleges and universities through their speaker series and Ted talk events.
In 2017, he graduated with high honors from UW-Milwaukee with an undergraduate degree in architecture and a minor certificate in real estate development.
Jonathan continues his mission today for diversity and inclusion alongside his passion for architecture and design. What Jonathan offers to the world is an extremely unique lifetime blend of advocacy through keynote speaking & inclusive workshops, architectural accessibility space planning, business development, and inclusive marketing techniques.


Jonathan Heider joins our host Kayla Bradham on S3:EP3 of the LALR Podcast


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 00:26 Bio
  • 01:45 Growing up and choosing swimming
  • 04:20 How he got to the Paralympics
  • 09:15 Advice for athletes competing in the Olympics and Paralympics
  • 10:30 Equal rights/Black Lives Matter
  • 13:55 Speaking about inclusivity with sports
  • 16:45 Panels on SPN
  • 17:04 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D.E.I)
  • 21:11 Architecture pet peeves
  • 23:35 How do we go further with D.E.I
  • 26:25 Words of wisdom
  • 28:05 Autograph donation
  • 28:52 Shout out’s and thank you’s
  • 30:00 Open to speaking and topics he speaks on


Kelsey Donnolo

Kelsey Donnolo

Sports Philanthropy Network

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