Clemons joined the U.S. Army in 2001 and was serving as a combat medic for the 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded during a mission. Three of his fellow soldiers were killed; Kortney lost his right leg above the knee.
Less than a year later, Clemons began sports training, first in powerlifting and then switching to track and field in 2007. He competes in the 100m, 200m, and long jump, and was the first Iraq war veteran to qualify for the U.S. Paralympics Team.
Kortney has written a book about his journey, "Amped: A Soldier's Race for Gold in the Shadow of War." In it he writes, "When above-the-knee amputees walk, we generate seven to nine times the force of our body weight right into the point where the prosthesis meets our residual leg. For me, that's almost 1,500 pounds slamming into that socket." Running and other sports increase the pressure, but, he says, competition also brings back “the fight and the confidence.”