At the paralympic games, there were 17 gold medals awarded, but they may as well have been 17 different sporting events for Sarah Storey, who won gold in the T54 at the Rio Games. She had to make her way up through the sport after disabilities took hold of her young life.
Paralympian Sarah Storey has claimed her 17th gold medal (spiritually speaking at least). She won her first medal (in Sydney in 2000) when she was just 10 years old. Now 20 years old, Storey became Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian with her silver medal behind Dina Asher-Smith in the 400m T54 race at Rio 2016.
|Tokyo, Japan is the location. Time in Tokyo: BST +8 Dates: 24 August-5 September|
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Sarah Storey may be the most successful Paralympian in British history, but the routine duties must still be completed.
Not only are celebrations necessary, but so are name badges on school uniforms. Storey will be taking up a needle and thread before she takes up a drink, so keep the bubbles on ice.
“I’ll have some champagne later,” she adds, “so I don’t stab myself or put them in wrong.”
Storey won her 17th gold medal on Thursday in Tokyo, breaking Mike Kenny’s long-standing record in the women’s C4-5 road event. No British paralympian has ever won more than she has at the age of 43 and at her seventh Games.
“I’m not sure whether it’s sunk in yet. It’s something that’s been talked about since Rio, when it became mathematically possible with three additional events in Tokyo “Storey told Paralympic Breakfast on Radio 5 Live.
“It’s one of those situations where I’m not sure whether it’ll hit me when I go home, or if it’ll hit me in a few months, or if it’ll hit me at all.”
“I’m simply very pleased and thankful to have so much support and to have such a wonderful team around me, as well as a great team at home. They’re the ones who can make this happen by placing me on the starting line and allowing me to go for it, so I’m speechless in many ways.”
Husband Barney, daughter Louisa, and son Charlie, who would have been in Tokyo if not for the coronavirus epidemic and all the limitations it has imposed. Her parents, who had never missed a Games in which their daughter had participated before this one, would agree.
Instead, Barney, a three-time Paralympic winner as a sighted pilot, watched the event on his phone from bed, keeping his emotions in control so as not to disturb Charlie, who was sleeping next to him.
“It was a nerve-wracking experience. It was the most nerve-wracking experience I’ve ever had while watching her run “Breakfast, he said.
“It’s tough to put into words how to explain the determination and commitment that allows her to keep competing, winning, and improving.”
“She’s incredible in how she continues to push her body to new limits. She’s simply capable of it, and I believe she’s one of the few individuals on the planet that can.”
Storey has come a long way since she was a 10-year-old swimmer who was told she “started training too late to be any good at anything” when she was told she “started training too late to be any good at anything.” She competed in her first Paralympics four years later in Barcelona, where she won six medals in the pool, including two golds.
More medals followed in Atlanta and Sydney until an ear ailment forced her to switch from goggles to pedals. But it didn’t matter whether she was traveling on wheels or through water; the best was yet to come.
Storey has won 12 gold medals in cycling since her debut at the Beijing Paralympics. She has never finished last in a Paralympic cycling event.
In Tokyo, both Sarah Storey and Lee Pearson added three gold medals to their tally.
“I could never have imagined competing in eight Games, much alone winning medals in each of them, 17 of which were gold. It’s the dream that didn’t come true for me “she said
“For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a British athlete and compete for my country.” It’s really incredible that we’re still going strong in the eighth game.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever felt a weight on my shoulders. Each race is treated as such, and the results are tallied afterwards. I’ve never been that tense before a race before. But going back to my room and knowing there are a couple other gold medals in the safe to put this one with is the greatest feeling in the world. The tally becomes much more genuine as a result.”
“It still seems like an out of body experience, like you’re watching someone else go through it,” she told Breakfast.
“It’s very difficult to put into words.” I’ve been working on this for so long, but I’ve worked on each race separately.
“Now that I’ve completed all three, I’m thinking, ‘We’re done!’ It’s really odd, so I’m hoping it begins to sink in over the following several hours and the next day.
“It’s a colossal undertaking.”
Storey will return to the United Kingdom on Friday, when she will be welcomed by her family at the airport. When Louisa, seven, and her three-year-old brother Charlie see her, they intend to “rush into her arms” before battling it out in the back of the vehicle to seat close to their supermum for the drive back to their Peak District home.
Will her 17th gold medal, however, be her last one? Unlikely. Her eyes are already set on the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, if only to give her youngest a chance to see a Paralympics.
“I mentioned before we came to these Games that Paris is something I’d want to do,” she said.
“Charlie was really eager to come and watch here, and we didn’t cancel anything until the very last minute because we were hopeful that things would improve and that, if nothing else, they would let families in. Taking Charlie to a Games would be wonderful.”