Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Daily Recap: Day One

TOKYO, Japan —- It was the day that adaptive athletes had been looking for since the end of the Rio Games in 2016 on September 7, 2016… It was 1,812 days to be exact. Finally, on the 25th of August 2021 competition had started at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

 The day started off well for Team USA in triumphant style as Shawn Morelli captured the United States’ first medal of the Paralympic games in the track event known as the C4 3000m individual Pursuit on Wednesday Afternoon. She secured bronze while competing at Izu Velodrome. The two-time Paralympian obtained her third overall medal in her Paralympic career after she secured two in 2016 in the road trial track pursuit events. Morelli, U.S. Army Second Lieutenant, served in Operation: Iraqi Freedom and also served in Afghanistan. Thank you for all your service.

Also in cycling, First time Paralympian Clara Brown finishes just outside of the podium, in fourth position in the Women’s C1-3 3000m individual pursuit. In the same event Jamie Whitmore finishes only in eight position.

‘Team USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball suffered a setback as they lost to odds-on favorite Netherlands 68-58 in a hard fought battle to the end. In the end, the 2016 Rio Champs fell to the 2018 World Champions. Team USA’s Lindsey Zurbrugg scored 20 points in her first Paralympic game, including 18 in the first half.

“It felt pretty glorious in the first half,” Zurbrugg said. “They adjusted their defense (in the second half). They could not let me shoot wide open any more, because I was hitting so well.”

What a swing of events in the aquatics center! After breaking a world record in the prelims of the 50m freestyle S6 with a time of 33.15 on Wednesday evening, the United States’ Elizabeth Banks would find her record would be short-lived, as Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mereshko won gold in the final at 33.11. Marks would place second in the pool and now owns a full medal set after winning a gold medal in the 100m breaststroke and a bronze in the 4x100m medley relay at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. Congrats to Elizabeth!

Team USA’s Elizabeth Banks receives her silver medal after swimming in the 50m freestyle S6 event Wednesday evening. (PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine)

In Fencing action, Terry Hayes and Shelby Jensen each went up against five other countries, but had no victories and did not move forward into eliminations. They later expressed gratitude that they had made it to the Paralympics and awe that they were able to compete against so many great athletes. 

In the women’s preliminary matches for goalball, Team USA beat Brazil 6-4, led by Amanda Dennis (#5) scoring the majority of the points. The team also included Eliana Mason who made multiple scores as well, Lisa Chechowski and Miller Asya who substituted each other twice during the game, and Marybal Huking and Mindy Cook who did not play this match. 


Shelby Jensen ducks and dodges the sword durinvg Frencing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games, day one. (PHOTO CREDIT: Lev Radin)

ON THURSDAY: The Men’s and Women’s Wheelchair basketball teams are in action as the Men open their Paralympic schedule at 9:00 Local Time against Germany and The Ladies play at 17:00 Local time against Spain!

Also, we’ll have Table Tennios Tahl Leibovitz coverage and more!

Until Tomorrow, make it a great day!

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