TOKYO, Japan — There may not have been a ton of overall medals on Thursday, but the day was a day of redemption for Team USA on the courts and in the water.
We start with the United States finding 2 golden gifts in the water in the form of teenagers and Para Swimmers Anastasia Pagonis and Gia Pergolini. They not only got the United states rolling in the gold department, but they did it in world record time.
Pagonis made her Paralympic debut winning gold in the women’s 400-meter freestyle S11 with a new world record of 4:54:49. Liesette Bruinsma of the Netherlands took silver in 5:05:34 and China’s Liwen Cai finished for bronze in 5:07:56. Team USA’s McClain Hermes finished sixth.
Gia Pergolini pulled off a Babe Ruth as she called her shot yesterday before the meet in the qualifiers saying she was going to win gold. She did just that as she took care of business in the women’s 100-meter backstroke S13 She also set a new world record in the process at 1:04:64. Colleen Young, a three-time Paralympian for Team USA, finished eighth.
“It’s surreal,” Pergolini said. “I’ve been thinking about this moment for the past five years. This past year I was thinking about it day and night. There are so many emotions finally seeing all my hard work pay off. Representing my country and getting them a gold medal is just crazy.”
U.S. Table Tennis Hall of Famer Tahl Leibovitz was in action last night. After losing his first Table Tennis match came back strong and took care of business advancing to the elimination round of Group 9 by defeating Spain’s Juan Perez Gonzalez in straight sets 3-0. The match lasted just 20 minutes with no set lasting more than 6 minutes. Leibovitz’s opponent for the next round is TBD.
Further redemption for the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team who after their defeat from the Netherlands on Tuesday, got angry and Spain would not like them when they are angry. They doubled up the Spanish team, 68-34.
On the Men’s side of the court, things started slow for Matt Scott and the men on the USA Wheelchair basketball team, but they came back to defeat the German team 58-55. Scott would later say after the game:
“I would say that we didn’t play our best basketball today,” said Scott, “But that’s the important thing about having championship pedigree; we’ve been able to win games that weren’t necessarily our best game.”
It would take all four quarters and all their might, but Team USA rugby offed the rivals from the North, Canada 58-54 in the pool phase for group B, led by Chuck Aoki who scored 30 tries in the event. At the half an interesting note, USA Wheelchair Rugby lightened up their attitude and jerseys going from black to white jerseys. To quote co-captain Joe Delagrave, it was like the film “The Mighty Ducks 2”.
The USA Men’s Goalball team took another shot at the 2019 Parapan winning Brazilian team and they cracked the code, defeating Brazil 8-6. The match was a repeat of the Parapan final from 2019, in which the Brazilians won. The United States was led by Calahan Young, the 26-year-old from Pennsylvania who scored the first two goals for the U.S. in the match.
Our Photos of the Day Slideshow
PHOTO CREDITS: Michael A. Clubine, Lev Radin and Danny Chin
That’s all for now, have a great day and we will have more news for you tomorrow!