By Mariya Abedi and Orge Castellano
It was another day in Rio full of sunshine with high temperatures and top competitions. The U.S. swimming team continued to top the charts, winning five medals in one night.
First up was Becca Meyers, who promised to put on a good show after already winning two gold medals in her first-ever Paralympics. And she certainly did not disappoint.
Meyers set a world record in the 400-meter freestyle S13 category with a time of 4:19.59, surpassing her own world record of 4:21.66. Meyers’ speed was unbeatable; she glided through the water. She broke down in tears at the finish line in disbelief.
Her parents were at the sidelines once again to support her, waving a massive American flag during the competition.
Fellow teammate Michelle Konkoly also excelled in the pool, breaking another world record for Team USA in the S9 category. The Pennsylvania-native clinched gold after her fingers reached the pool wall at 1:00.91, in the women’s 200-meter individual medley SM6 category.
“It went through my mind, ‘You can do this. You can actually do this,’ and I just went for the wall with everything I had,” Konkoly said. “To look up and see that one red light, it’s amazing.”
Courtney Jordan swam the 50-meter butterfly S7, claiming silver, and winning her ninth medal in the Paralympic Games. She was defeated by 39 milliseconds by the British Susannah Rodgers, who was shocked by her unexpected win.
Continuing the medal count for Team USA, Bradley Snyder took home another gold. The 32-year-old swimmer finished the 50-meter freestyle S11 with a new personal time of 25.57 seconds, just 30 seconds more than the world record set by China’s Bozun Yang. Yang raced along the army veteran but came in third place.
Brazil’s Daniel Dias snatched the gold in the 50-meter freestyle S5, beating Roy Perkins. Only two nights ago Perkins shared the podium with the local superstar after a golden victory in the men’s 50-meter butterfly S5 category. However the American was not able to outpace Vietnam’s Thanh Tung Vo as well as Dias, and took home the bronze.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news for the swimmers; Sophia Herzog couldn’t keep up with the powerful strokes of Britain’s Eleanor Simmonds, who finished with a new world record time of 2:59.81 in the women’s 200-meter sm6 final.
And in athletics, Hunter Woodhall and Norman Grace received the two other medals of the night. Woodhall for the men’s 200-meter T44* category and Norman for the women’s 400-meter T44.
Norman claimed her second medal after winning gold at the Triathlon on Sunday. She crossed the finish line in 1:01.83 for a personal best.
“To make history yesterday with the first paratriathlon gold medal for the U.S. and raising that flag, especially on 9/11, remembering and being thankful for my freedom was just amazing,” Norman said. “Then tonight, to win bronze in the 400-meter was just incredible. I’m just so thankful to represent my country on a big stage like this.”
The Paralympics may be four days in, but some sports are still just starting. Sailing day one of competition took off in Marina de Gloria, with six Americans competing in three classes. It may be the last time the team is able to compete in the Paralympics- Tokyo 2020 has taken sailing out of its lineup for the games.
After the day of racing, Dee Smith came in first in the one-person keelboat 2.4mR class. Smith has competed in several high-level races throughout the years, including America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race.
He was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer in 2007, a condition that affected his spine. That’s when he made the switch over to para-sailing.
The U.S. team also came in third in the three-person keelboat sonar class. The team won the Para Sailing World Championships in the same category. Helmsman Rick Doerr is making his second Paralympic games, after competing in Beijing in 2008. Teammates Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund are attending the Paralympics for the first time, but the team has won five medals at the Sailing World Cup Miami.
There will be several races over the course of the week leading to the medaling round on Saturday, September 17th. But sailing is one of the sports that is not live-streamed or broadcasted. Spectators watched from the beach, which families of the athletes were taken out on the water in boats. The race was only available to watch via a live tracking system on sailing.org.
In equestrian we saw good scores for the American women competing in the first test day. Equestrian can be a tough sport to understand, given its complexity. But it has an undeniable riveting factor. For spectators, the key is to understand the close relationship between the horse and its rider as they strive for a perfect harmony in order to reach the maximum score out of 100%.
The Paralympics only has one classification, which is dressage. It features three main events: a team test, an individual championship test, and a freestyle test.
Roxanne Trunnel from Richland, Wisconsin, classified to the next test with her horse Royal Dancer, an 11-year-old gelding rubicell 1, with a score of 69.348% in the Ia grade 2. Her teammate equestrian rider Margaret Mcintosh scored 68.087% with her horse Rio Rio.
And in men’s wheelchair basketball, the team remains undefeated as they head in the quarterfinals on Wednesday against the Netherlands It was an intense game between Great Britain and the U.S. as they took to the courts, but the U.S. took the lead and held on to it, winning 65-48.
But it was a disappointing loss for the women’s U.S. sitting volleyball team. China is well on its way to striking gold for the fourth time after beating the U.S., 3-2. Team USA put up a good fight, winning two of their sets 25-14. The game was tied after the fourth set, and China came out on top 15-13 in the final set. The U.S. will be taking on Rwanda on Wednesday at 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The men’s goalball team lost another game in the preliminary rounds, this time to Turkey, who won 6-3. After the first half, the U.S. team was down by one, but they could not recover after Turkey scored two more points in the second half.