What is cleverly disguised in the above CBS promo shot of Kelly Bruno is that she is an amputee. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill medical student lost her leg when she was 6-months-old from a congenital birth defect. Kelly is an extreme case of taking what would appear to be a negative and making it a life-long positive. In fact, the 26-year-old has accomplished enough to shame most people twice her age. Lets take a look at the ultra-motivated triathlete from the Tarheel state.
First up is her Bio as provided by CBS followed by an interview:
Name: Kelly Bruno (26)
Tribe: La Flor
Current Residence: Durham, N.C.
Occupation: Medical Student at University of North Carolina
Personal Claim to Fame:Becoming the second and fastest female amputee to finish the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in 2007.
Inspiration in Life: My father who was recently killed in the earthquake in Haiti. He was there with Food for the Poor to bring hope and aid to people less fortunate. My dad was a doctor, a teacher and a humanist. I most admired him and looked up to him for his willingness to help others. He lived his life to the fullest every single day. His legacy will be carried on by all of the lives he touched during his life.
Hobbies: Triathlons, cooking and traveling.
Pet Peeves: When people chew ice or blow bubbles in an otherwise quiet room.
3 Words to Describe You: Determined, persistent and strong-willed.
SURVIVOR Contestant You Are Most Like: Christy Smith because she also faced a physical disadvantage that, in the end, gave her additional strength. I also relate to Helen Glover’s no-nonsense-appeal as that is how I approach my own life; with a no-nonsense attitude.
Reason for being on SURVIVOR: The challenge and the competition; I also want to honor my father who has been a strong influence in overcoming many of the challenges I’ve faced as an amputee and in life.
Why you think you will be the sole SURVIVOR: I’m physically and mentally strong. I’ve overcome obstacles before when the odds were stacked up against me and I can do it again.
CBS Cast Bio video interview with Kelly Bruno:
As was mentioned Kelly is an elite triathlete and is well known amongst that tight nit athletic community. She has appeared on the cover of Endurance Magazine and was featured in a great article from RangerUp.com that includes some hot images of Kelly. Her USA Triatholon page has an impressive list of accomplishments that include:
Triathlon Career: 2008 National Champion, 2008 World Champion,2007 Ironman Arizona, 2007 Ironman World Championships, 2008 Beach2Battleship Ironman, Two-time ITU World Triathlon Championship silver medal.
Kelly even has a book about her life and experiences with competing as a triathlete called “Challenged on Both Sides of the Finish Line.” You can find out more about the book and pick up a copy here.
An interesting item not mentioned in her CBS bio is that Kelly was featured as an official ballgirl for The U.S. Open Tennis Championships, the only tennis major to be held in America. Here are two videos on Kelly’s participation in the event:
Kelly’s friend Alex Vieda who has the very important task of looking after Kelly’s dog while she is away “Surviving” probably summed up her inspirational friend the best:
“To say driven and motivated is an understatement. She’ll try anything and then decide that she needs to excel at it.”
Good luck to Kelly as she shows her fight and determination to honor the memory of her selfless and heroic dad.