Recap Day Eight: U.S. Paralympic Team Adds Nine More Medals To The Count

By Orge Castellano and Mariya Abedi

It was another podium Mc’sweep for the U.S. track and field women as Tatyana McFadden won her fifth gold medal in Rio; this time for the wheelchair 5000-meter T54 race.

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Tatyana starts to make some moves to the 5000m lead. Photo by Ken King

McFadden made her way around the track with teammates Chelsea McClammer and Amanda McGrory directly behind her. The trio took turns taking the lead as they pulled around the track 12 times, but it was McFadden who came around the turn ahead of the pack, bringing home the gold with the time of 11:54.07.

McClammer came in with the silver at 11:54.33 and McGrory was just 0.01 millisecond behind her. The three had also won the women’s 1500-meter T54 race on Tuesday.

McFadden and McClammer continued their medal wins with the 4×400-meter relay T53/54 with teammates Cheri Madsen and Hannah McFadden. The four faced China, Australia and Turkey. China’s team came out on top, breaking its own world record time of 3:40.66 with a time of 3:32.11. The U.S. was about nine seconds behind them, and both Australia and Turkey were disqualified.

The 27-year-old McFadden now has 15 medals from four Paralympic Games. She also won an IPC award earlier in the day for exemplifying the Paralympic spirit.

In the U.S. men’s team, Raymond Martin earned gold for the men’s 1500-meter T52. This is the third medal he has won in Rio. And Hunter Woodhall won bronze for the 400-meter T44.

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Silver medallist Tomoki Sato JPN (left) and gold medallist Raymond Martin celebrate after the men’s 1500-meter T52 final. Photo by Simon Bruty for OIS/IOC. 

In sitting volleyball, the women’s team beat local’s Brazil power team 3-0 in a very tight game for most of the sets which lasted 1h 18m at the Riocentro Pavilion 6, just 15 minutes outside the Olympic Park. The American women secured a place for the finals taking place Saturday 17th when they’ll be playing against a strong contender, China.

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Nicky Nieves blocks a serve in the first set. Photo by Orge Castellano.

Army veteran Brad Snyder had another thrilling night setting his second world record at the games in swimming. He did it by one second beating his previous mark. Snyder pulled away China’s own Bozun Yang who came in second taking home silver and Japanese Keiichi Kimura who got bronze.

“I am real glad to have a world record. Since London (2012 Paralympic Games) the media have been saying I had a world record but that is wrong. I have never had one but finally I do,” said the swimmer after the race.

As for the women Michelle Konkoly, Elizabeth Smith and McKenzie Coan claimed silver at the final 4x100m freestyle relay 34 points at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium. When asked about going under the previous world record to win silver behind Australia  Michelle added:

“We all got best times, that kind of says it all; we’re running a 33-point relay in a 34-point event, so the fact that we’re able to go under the (old) world record is crazy.”

In cycling road, four-time Paralympian and navy veteran Will Groulx from Portland, Oregon, won gold in the H2 road race in a time of 1:15.23 at Pontal in Rio de Janeiro. It was an ecstatic performance for the cyclist whose family was in the stands cheering him up frantically.

“I mean my family is here watching. Yesterday was the first time they’d even had the opportunity to watch me racing on the bike, so to do that representing the United States winning a gold medal with my family here to watch is just the icing on the cake.”

Other Americans competing were, Brian Sheridan, Freddie de los Santos, Tom Davis and Will Lachenauer. Sheridan joined Groulx in the H2 road race, finishing sixth after a crash moved him out of the third spot he had been holding for most of the race. Santos joined Sanchez in the H5 road race, finishing sixth overall while Davis took sixth in the H4 road race. Lachenauer was 12th in the H3 road race.

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Christophe Hindricq BEL (left) races ahead of Tobias Fankhauser SUI (centre) and Brian Sheridan USA during the Men’s Cycling Road Race H2 at Pontal. Photo by Thomas Lovelock for OIS/IOC. 

In goalball, the men’s team played their last game for the semifinals against Brazil finishing with a score of 10-1 at the Future Arena. The match was very heated the entire time with both teams performing incredible shots at each other. The final match will take place September 16th when the Americans will have to face current world champions Lithuania; so far the team has secured themselves a silver medal.

Meanwhile, in wheelchair basketball the women performed an intense match in the semifinals defeating Great Britain 89-78, meaning that they will get the chance to clinch a gold medal this Friday 16th against the Germans at the Rio Olympic Arena.

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