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Athletes Win Big at Paralympic Games!


On September 7, the Paralympic opening ceremonies welcomed athletes and spectators from around the world with the theme: “The heart has no limits. Everybody has a heart.”

Liv athlete Allison Jones lead Team USA into the arena as flag bearer, among a record 1,670 female athletes (a number more than double that which competed in Atlanta in 1996).

On September 11, American Allysa Seely made history as one of the first gold medal winners in triathlon at the Paralympics. A 15-year effort to include triathlon in the Games was finally realized, as 2016 marked the first time Paralympians were allowed to compete in the multi-sport event. Seely graced the top step of the women’s PT2 event, accompanied by two of her compatriots, Melissa Stockwell and Hailey Danisewicz. Trailing leader Danisewicz as she fought hard to secure position on her Avow Advanced Pro triathlon bike, she closed the gap during the run, finishing with a winning time of 1 hour, 22 minutes and 25 seconds.

"I knew I needed to have a really strong swim out there to get as close to the front as I could, put as much time in between me and some of my competitors,” said Seely. “Coming off the bike, I had a lot of work to do. I put my head down and I went for it. I’m a runner at heart and that’s my soul, so I really just gave it everything I had and I’m really excited with how everything turned out.”

Carol Cooke of Australia put the power down in the T1-2 time trial on September 14, winning gold over Jill Walsh of the US by over 30 seconds. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1998, Cooke won her first Paralympic gold at the London games in 2012. At 55, she returned to Rio to defend her medal in time trial. But, Cooke didn’t stop there; she again crossed the finish line first on her modified Envie Advanced Pro during the T1-2 road race on September 16.

On the final day of Paralympic road racing, Anna Harkowska of Poland grabbed the silver in the C4-5 road race on her Envie Advanced behind Sarah Storey of Great Britain. Three days earlier, she crossed the finishline of the C5 women's time trial in the same position behind Storey. Harkowska came to Rio with three Paralympic medals from London: silver in time trial, the road race and the individual pursuit. She had hoped to turn one of those silvers into gold at this year’s Games, but was unable to reel in Storey.


Friday, September 30, 2016