by Orge Castellano and Mariya Abedi
First days are sometimes tough to get through, but in Rio, things have proven to be quite different for Team USA. When it came to their individual sports, the athletes were ready to shine. We witnessed incredible performances and astonishing winnings.
First, Lex Gillete earned Team USA’s first medal in Athletics with an impressive long jump. He summoned 6.44 meters in the T11 classification, but the gold was conquered by Brazil’s own Ricardo Costa.
The U.S. Cycling team finished the first day of competition with four medals. First-time Paralympian Jamie Whitmore was the first American cyclist to win a medal, winning silver in the C1-2-3* 300m individual. Meanwhile, track cyclist Samantha Bosco competed in the C5 category, winning a bronze medal and edging out Polish opponent Anna Harkowska by 0.004 milliseconds. Bosco’s final time was 3:54.697 in the 3000M individual.
Her teammate Megan Fisher also took a bronze home at the C4 3000M individual pursuit and finished just 0.356 milliseconds ahead of New Zealand’s Katherine Horan. But the U.S. Cycling team did not end the day without a gold medal; first-time Paralympian Morelli Shawn dominated the C4 3000M individual pursuit and broke the Paralympic record by finishing in 3:59.407.
In U.S. Swimming, Jessica Long did it again and claimed silver medal in the pool, followed by Becca Meyers who did not disappoint and tasted the podium with an amazing win, a golden medal for the 100M Butterfly. Her parents were in the stands cheering her up, it was an emotional night for the Meyer’s family, but the fight isn’t over yet Becca still has to compete in four different events in the next few days, but for now, she can relax because as of today, she’s officially a Paralympic Champion.
And in the world of wheelchair basketball, both the men’s and the women’s teams won by wide margins. The U.S. men’s team took on host country Brazil, winning 75-38, and the U.S. women’s team played against France and won 93-37. The women’s team broke two U.S. records: most points scored in a game (previous record was 75 points in 2008) and largest margin of victory (previous record was 50 points in 2004). Both teams continue to advance to the semi-finals.
*As per the International Paralympic Committee, bicycle C1-5 : Athletes who are able to use a standard bicycle compete in the 5 sport classes C1-5. The sport class profiles include amputations, impaired muscle power or range of motion and also impairments affecting coordination, such as ataxia and athetosis. Sport class C1 is allocated to athletes with the most severe activity limitation, while the sport class C5 is allocated to athletes who meet the minimum disability criteria. For example, cyclists with a double below-the-knee amputation who use a prosthesis are likely to compete in the sport class C3, while an athlete with a below knee amputation and a prosthesis on one leg would compete in the sport class C4.