Wheelchair Sports Federation | Adaptive Sports Organization
The Epitome Of Determination Print E-mail
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By Orge Castellano  October 8, 2016

The road was slightly wet when the crowd arrived at Pontal, an early cloudy grey sky above was silently threatening to ruin the day – but in Brazil the sunshine comes out no matter what-. The crowds surrounded the cycling path patiently waiting for the riders to pass, most of them only will see a rapid flash swapping in from of their eyes, barely would they see the competitor’s face, but that’s enough, people of Brazil never get to see action like this so close and many have never seen Paralympians compete at all. For many, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. The racers are easily distinguished by their patriotic colors: red and yellow for China, green and red for the Italians, the Team USA racers clad in a proud red, white, and blue. Two Americans were scheduled to compete at the men’s road race C1-2-3. Cyclist superstar and previous Paralympic champion Joe Berenyi was ready, but newcomer Billy Lister, making his Paralympic debut in Rio, was nowhere to be seen. The buzzer sounded and the cyclists aggressively pedaled away from the board showing DNS [Did Not Start] next to Billy’s name. Some USA fans clung to the fences not far from stunned and confused members of the press. Where’s this racer? Why did he not start?

Billy, as everybody calls him, has always been a fighter, multifaceted athlete, and constantly opened to new challenges, willing to start from scratch again and again. In addition to athletic ability, he has a major gift of being able to reinvent himself; but reinvention itself usually comes at a high price. At 15, Billy wasn’t expecting his life to be dramatically changed overnight in a 180 degree spin that left him a different person. He spent weeks receiving treatment in a hospital bed for something the teenager had never heard of, but quickly became an intrinsic part of him. He was diagnosed with a rare and incisive brain abnormality known as an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) that in most cases needs to be corrected through extensive and acute Stereotactic Radiosurgery. The procedure was a success, but roughly three months later Billy experienced severe swelling in his brain, and he suffered what his doctors and parents had been fearing the most, a stroke. He could hardly walk nor move with ease due to a full left side hemiparesis.  Frustration grew as simple tasks, like holding a cup or getting dressed, became increasingly burdensome. He noticed his life moving dramatically backwards. “Whereas most strokes are sudden bursts of light, mine was a slow and regressive process” he says.

Billy refused to be stopped and continued attending sport practices and playing with his team. He was not defeated; stubborn, refused to be held back, and eventually received the scholastic award from his classmates due to his sportsmanship and friendliness. His physical conditions, though, were slowly reaching a more severe state. Unable to practice able-bodied sports anymore, he worked to accept his new condition, it was time for a ‘rebirth’ as he calls it. Young dreams were fatally crashed in a matter of weeks, but the human spirit is an abstract thing with a mind that revolves conscious and unconscious spectrums.

Billy was coping with his disability, surviving everyday, but he wasn’t living his life to its fullest. The only way he could grapple with his new condition was through something he was very accustomed to – sports-. No abnormality was going to thwart Billy’s aspirations. Yet, the unforgivable factor of time took an almost 12 year pause after the stroke as Billy worked to re-discover himself. Nothing happens in life by mistake, and when those supposed mistakes turn out to be strengths one’s inner strength can be peacefully realized. These hurdles make a person who they shaping their live. Billy said to life and to himself  “bring on the mistakes, because I’m more than ready.”

Billy has always been the athletic type, playing soccer in high school and experimenting with different recreational ones, whether the basketball team, baseball or track and field. Growing up, he knew sports were ingrained deeply inside him.

“Sports is what I love to do, it’s what I enjoy the most, and being active and athletic. It’s part of my personality, of my physical nature.”

Sometimes what is needed to prepare oneself for life’s next life stages is time, and in 2009 Billy audaciously re-ignited his true-self and found adapted sports. Through acquaintances and the Wheelchair Sports Federation, he did not hesitate to begin practicing sled hockey. Then in 2011 he attended a Paratriathlon camp through the Challenged Athletes Foundation. He continued with triathlon for almost two years until he couldn’t run anymore and needed to switch to a new sport.

“I realized that it was challenging for me, and of course in Triathlon running is an important aspect.”

In 2013 Billy rediscovered cycling after friends introduced him to a high performance cyclist coach working with the US Paralympics. Billy went to San Diego in March 2013 for a selection process, where he excelled more than had been anticipated.

“I had a disposition and a proclivity to it. I realized that I was pretty good at it, and then it hit me I could become a professional athlete.”

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Billy takes on the track on his 3000M Individual Pursuit time trial C1 SEPT, 9, 2016. Photo by Michael A. Clubine

Something in him clicked. He inherently knew that no matter the strenuous up-and-downs he would become a pro athlete and decided to give it his all, to strengthen this talent coming organically out of him. The national championships came, then the world cups, and he was getting ahead, so he gave his dedication to the Paralympic trials. In November 2013 he competed at the US Indoor Track Para Cycling National Championships and, having only ridden a track bike twice in his life, became a National Champion in the Men’s C2 Division, the three kilometer Individual Pursuit and the one kilometer Time Trial. He was leaving other incredulous athletes and the public – most of them unaware of his existence -aghast with surprise and filled with amazement. In January 2015 he started exclusively training in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center. He was ready for the Paralympics.

Billy was scheduled to compete in four events in Rio de Janeiro: the Men’s C1 3000m Individual Pursuit Qual on Sept 9th, the men’s C1-2-3 1000m Time Trial on Sept. 10th, the men’s Time Trial C1 on Sept. 14th all of them in the Rio Olympic Velodrome and the men´s road race on Sept. 16th  outside the Olympic park in the Cycling road in Pontal. He trained hard for this moment and attended with discipline every training session at the Velodrome, in the heart of the Olympic Park located in Barra de Tijuca at the shores of Rio de Janeiro. He was set to face difficult competitors from around the world, all of them after that desired prize, a Paralympic medal and recognition for their efforts determination. Billy came with a goal in mind, to taste the playfield and experience the Paralympics. But competition was fierce and Billy was unable to claim a medal. At his last race Billy had to be pulled out due to an injury on his left elbow sustained by a crash he suffered the previous day, right before his time trial where he came in 5th.

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Billy Lister testing the Omega timing system at training SEPT 6, 2016. Photo by Michael A. Clubine.

“I had a bike crash on my way to the start line on Wednesday morning and fractured my left elbow, fully displaced at the radial head with a splinter through the joint. I still went and raced, and finished 5th overall which is a reasonable result given I was riding on a broken arm”  

Unconcerned, he knows Rio wasn’t his only opportunity at the Paralympics, and that his driving force and undeniable dogged determination will continue to rise in future competitions.

“I have high aspirations for Tokyo in 2020—Rio 2016 is not my only shot. I’ve got a long future in Paralympic cycling.”

Whether it’s in Rio de Janeiro, at high-top championships, or the Olympic Training Center in the Colorado Springs, Billy is determined to go where triumph is guaranteed and undaunted from the intense-hardcore training sessions. He’s not afraid of defeat and will outwit his own body to the last drop.

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Billy competes on the 3000M Individual Pursuit final C1 SEPT, 9, 2016. Photo by Michael A. Clubine

Billy is spurred on to greater efforts; it’s a quintessential element of sports and a growth feature not to be ignored or underestimated. He knows everything comes with a high level of discipline and hard work. Sports are an ingrained part of his life and this Paralympian will continue to best athletes in future international competition.

 
Recap Day 11: Team USA Ranks Fourth as Paralympics Come to Close Print E-mail
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The start of the Men's Marathon - T12. Athletics at Fort Copacabana. The Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil , Sunday 18thSeptember 2016. Photo: Thomas Lovelock for IOS/IOC.  Handout image supplied by OIS/IOC

By Mariya Abedi 

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After 10 days full of competition and more than 112 medals, Team USA looked to close out this year’s Paralympic Games with wins in two remaining sports: wheelchair rugby and the marathon. And the U.S. athletes sure did not disappoint.

It was a close game in the wheelchair rugby finals, which was one of two sports televised on NBC. With all eyes on them, the U.S. team fought till the final second in the gold medal against Australia. The two teams stayed neck in neck throughout the four quarters, but in the end, Team USA was edged out by the Aussies by 59-58 in double overtime.  

bb3_7260Joshua Brewer moves towards the scoring zone during the gold-medal match against Australia. Photo by Bob Martin for OIS/IOC.

At half, the U.S. trailed only by one point, with starter Chuck Aoki scoring 9 of the 25 points.  The team continued its aggressive play on the court, matching each of their opponent’s goal. But Australia’s defense kept the U.S. from taking the lead.

With just two seconds left in the last quarter, the U.S. tied up the game after Aoki passed the ball to Josh Brewer, leading the game into its first overtime at 49 points.

The two teams continued scoring back and forth, ending the first overtime with 54 points each. At the end of the second overtime, Australia clinched gold with the U.S. unable to score a goal in the last 15 seconds.

“It was such a great game, both sides. We fought extremely well,” said Team USA’s Jason Regier. “I’m surprised we didn’t go a couple more overtimes.”

BB3_7155.JPGChuck Aoki on the court in Rio de Janiero during the final match against Australia. Photo by Bob Martin for OIS/IOC. 

The U.S. team has made the podium in wheelchair rugby ever since the sport was introduced in 2000 at the Paralympic Games. They had won bronze at the 2012 London Games, pushing the team harder to work towards gold.

“You sacrifice four years to represent your country and get here, and we did everything we could out there. Hats off to Australia,” Reigier said.

tl2_0263Australia takes the lead at the start line in the men’s marathon T54 at Fort Copacabana. Photo by Thomas Lovelock for IOS/IOC.

Meanwhile, at a picturesque Fort Copacabana, the mercury continued to rise.

Powerhouse Tatyana McFadden competed in her final event, aiming to add another gold to her collection. The women’s wheelchair marathon T54 took off with 14 athletes, including five Americans.

It was a fight till the very end for McFadden, as she finished at the same exact time as China’s Jing Ma. Both crossed the finish line at 1:38:44, but a photo finish showed Ma’s wheel come in first, winning by hair. McFadden took home the silver, the three-time Paralympian’s sixth medal in Rio.

“I knew the races were going to be tough.” McFadden said. “It’s amazing to be on the podium six times. Some people weren’t on the podium at all.”

at4_4265Amanda McGrory competes in the women’s T54 marathon at Fort Copacabana. Photo by Al Tielemans for OIS/IOC. 

And teammate Amanda McGrory came in third, winning the bronze with a time of 1:38:45.

“It was definitely a technical course. The flatness of it made it very fast but it also made it very difficult to break away,” McGrory explained. “The laps are kind of cool as well because you know what’s coming up.”

In the men’s marathon T54, Aaron Pike placed 10th with a time of 1:30.13, but Joshua George and James Senbeta were unable to finish.

But all the athletes will get their chance to prove themselves again when the Paralympics head to Tokyo in 2020. 

“I have lots of homework. I know what I need to do next time. Hopefully a little stronger and smarter. I’m ready for Tokyo,” McFadden said.

Feature picture by Thomas Lovelock for IOS/IOC.

 
Recap Day Ten: Men’s Wheelchair Basketball, Sitting Volleyball, Athletics Claim Gold Print E-mail
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By Orge Castellano and Matthew Gephart   September 18, 2016

On the second to last day of competition marking the 10th day in Rio, Team USA has added a few more gold medals to its collective count, bringing the total to 40.

With the biggest highlights from the games today, the Women’s Sitting Volleyball team and the Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team placed first in competition, taking home Gold medals.

The Women’s Sitting Volleyball team faced a tough match China, just as it was in London for the 2012 Paralympic games. The US women took the first set 25-12, and ended second set with the same results, taking the first two in the start of the match. After only being behind for a few serves at the beginning of the third set, the US women’s team took charge and finished off the set 25-18, taking the gold from the reigning champion Chinese team.

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Monique Burkland and Laura Webster (Left to Right) play against great contender China for the gold medal. SEPT. 18, 2016. Photo By Ken King

“In the third set at point 22 or 23, I started to feel nauseous because I was having this feeling of ‘OK, you are not there yet… but you are there. So don’t lose’ said Katie Holloway.

“It was absolutely my best moment in sport. I have played for a long time and to have this moment after almost 14 years it’s amazing; everything has paid off and the team I just walked off court with are the best. We are all together and we worked so hard to get this medal. It has been our focus for years.” said Lora Webster after their win.

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The women from the Sitting Volleyball team celebrate their victory. Photo By Ken King

The Men’s Basketball team was able to defeat Spain in a 68-52 victory taking the number one position on the podium. By checking the final score you would not be able to tell how close of a game this really was. After the US Team lead the entire first half of the game, Spain cut down their lead and took the momentum into the second half, coming with in two points of tying the game with just under a minute in in the 3rd quarter. The United States was able to hold off the Spaniards and take Gold, only having praise to speak of the opposition.

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Steve Serio plays at the gold medal match against Spain. on SEPT. 18, 2016. Photo By Michael Clubine

“Spain is a terrific team. We knew they would play us aggressively and they beat a bunch of great teams to get here. So we weren’t underestimating them. In the fourth quarter we found our rhythm offensively and that carried us to the victory.” said Steve Serio.

It’s the first time since 1988 that the men’s has been able to won gold.

“It is a huge deal. We have been in a drought for many years. I wouldn’t want to to do it with another group of guys. We played awesome and it feels great to bring it back to the US.” Said Aaron Gouge.

The United States mixed team of Lia Coryell and Jeff Fabry were just edged out of a medal in Archery, placing fourth being defeated by the Czech Republic team. Coryell was also defeated during Individuals in the quarterfinal earlier in the morning, losing to Great Britain’s, Jo Frith.

Athletics kept Team USA busy on the day, competing in Men’s Long Jump was Trenton Merrill and Jerome Singleton who finished in 9th and 11th respectively. Shirley Reilly was able to take bronze in the Women’s 800m T53 final after finishing just three tenths of a second behind first place, while in the T54 classification Tatyana Mcfadden was able to take home the gold by the same margin, gathering her fourth gold in Rio 2016.

“This is my fourth gold medal. In London, I got three. It’s just been an amazing Games. I came home with silver in the 100m then gold from there on out. It’s been quite an amazing journey” said Tatyana.

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Tatyana McFadden USA finishes first in the Women’s 800m – T54 Athletics Final ahead of Wenjun Liu CHN (centre) and Yingjie Li CHN at the Olympic Stadium. Photo: Al Tielemans for OIS/IOC. Handout image supplied by OIS/IOC

Ivonne Mosquera-Schmidt was able to qualify for the 1500m T11 race, but finished in the final position in that event. In the Women’s 100m T51/52 final, Kerry Morgan took second place over fellow teammate Cassie Mitchell who did not start. Just missing out on a bronze medal also was Men’s Shot Put thrower Michael Wishnia.

Road Cycling finals in the C4-5 and the B races left our Team USA members without Medals on the day. Samantha Bosco came in 6th place in the Women’s Road Race C4-5, which was the highest placing athlete for the day in Cycling. In a more somber note, the passing of Iranian Cyclist, Bahman Golbarnezhad, has struck the Paralympic world as thoughts and prayers go to his country and family.

Brad Kendell, Rick Doerr and Hugh Freund competed in the final race of the three-person keelboat (Sonar) class at the Marina da Gloria on Saturday taking home a silver medal. When asked about how he was feeling after the race Brad said: “Not much sleep. Woke up in the middle of the night and certainly started thinking about the race, how we were going to get out there and manage it and what we had to do to win it. We wanted to win that race to go out in style.”

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Brad Kendell, Rick Doerr and Hugh Freund compete in the final race of the three-person keelboat (Sonar) class at the Marina da Gloria in Rio. Photo By Ken King

The chosen venue for the event wasn’t the easiest having to do extreme turns.

“It’s an incredibly tough venue. There’s every kind of condition you can see. We’ve been practicing that for a long time so we knew we could be down on one lap and come from the back. We tried to keep our cool in every race, we knew we had another lap to get back.” said Hugh.

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Rick Doerr USA, Hugh Freund USA and Brad Kendell USA (left to right) celebrate winning the Silver in the 3-Person Keelboat (Sonar) Sailing race at Marina da Glória. Photo: Thomas Lovelock for OIS/IOC. Handout image supplied by OIS/IOC

 

The 2-person Keelboat race didn’t go as smoothly for Ryan Porteous and Maureen Mckinnon, who finished 7th overall, while Dee Smith competed in the 1-person Keelboat race and just missed the podium by another three tenths of a second loss.

In Swimming Roy Perkins from Washington, DC, clinched a silver medal at the Men’s 100 meter Freestyle S6 with a time of 1:14.55 not being able to overtake Brazilian Para-elite swimmer Daniel Dias who took gold.

“It’s been loud every time Daniel (DIAS) swims. It definitely makes it more fun but I didn’t think too much about it, it’s my fourth race with him” said Perkins.

It’s the 8th and last medal for the 26 year-old who had a very successful journey in Rio.

Wheelchair Rugby will be set to finish in the final day of the Paralympic Games in Rio with the United States qualifying for the final round over Canada today, winning 60-55. Taking advantage of a deadly combination of 6 takeaways for the US team and 10 turnovers by the Canadians, the United States team was just able to squeeze into the next round after an evenly matched bout with the team that edged them in London 2012. The United States team will take on London’s Gold Medalists, Australia, tomorrow at 15:00 BRT, 3:00pm EST.

 
Recap Day Nine: Women’s Wheelchair Basketball and Goalball Make Podium Print E-mail
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By Orge Castellano and Mariya Abedi  September 17, 2016

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It was an exciting night on the basketball court as the women’s wheelchair basketball team crushed Germany, the 2012 London Paralympic Games gold medalist. The game finished 62-45 at the Rio Olympic Arena. The game was entirely dominated by the U.S., with four periods played with strong blocks, several straight throws and minimal faults. Their movements were stable and balanced with massive turnovers and dynamic throws. At the end the women clinched gold.

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Gail Gaeng blocks Mareike Miller (GER) in the second half of the game. Photo by Michael Clubine.

“I think we were a balanced team. We played with incredible composure offensively and defended intensely. Our ability to play with both composure and intensity carried us through,” said coach Stephanie Wheeler.

Rebecca Murray poised herself as the most powerful player on the court, scoring 33 points throughout the whole match, compared to Germany’s Gesche Schunemann, who only scored 13.

“We knew Germany was going to come out for a fight and that it would be an aggressive game. We knew we had to stay composed and not get rattled because of the aggression, and just stay together,” said Murray.

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Jamie Whitmore competes in the women’s cycling road race. Picture by Anthony Edgar for OIS/IOC.

In cycling, Jamie Whitmore took her first gold home at the women’s cycling road race. The 40 year-old finished in a time of 1:30.14 to edge out China’s Sini Zeng and Denise Schindler of Germany.

“I’m feeling fantastic now that I won gold. This has been a life-long dream since I was about six years old and wanting to be an Olympian,” Whitmore said. “I had a very wild pro-career as a triathlete and mountain biker. I thought my dream had ended and then there’s this great thing called the Paralympics, so I got a second chance.”

Jill Walsh, from New York, took part in the T1-2 women’s road race, coming in second in an event that was very challenging and exhausting. It was Walsh’s first appearance at the Paralympics.

“That was hard,” said Walsh. “I could see the number one rider just pulling a little ahead from me. I thought I could make up some time, but my legs were pretty spent by then.”

The final medal of the day on the roads for the U.S. came courtesy of the relay team. Will Groulx, Oz Sanchez and Will Lachenauer combined effort resulted in silver in the H2-5 mixed team relay with a time of 33:21.

Ryan Boyle and Joe Berenyi also competed in the race. Boyle just missed the podium in the T1-2 men’s road race, finishing fourth, and Berenyi finished 10th in the C1-3 men’s road race. Billy Lister was also scheduled to compete, but he had to be pulled out of the race due to a severe fracture he suffered on his left elbow the previous day after crashing his bike on his way to the start line.

The U.S. team will have one more day to add to its medal count as the final day of the road cycling competition gets underway Saturday, September 17th. 

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Deja Young competes in Rio on September 15, 2016. Photo by Michael A. Clubine.

In track and field, the gold medals kept on coming. Deja Young won gold in the women’s 200-meter T47 race with her season best time of 25.46. It was the second medal for the first-time Paralympian.

“The first one hasn’t hit me yet, so the second one isn’t going to be in a while either. It’s quite exciting to come out in my first Paralympic Games and compete as well as I did,” Young said.

David Blair won the top for the men’s discus throw F44 with a distance of 64.11-meters, setting a world record after a 16-year hiatus from athletics.

“Before I went into the ring for my last throw, I thought about my return; world record; first place; you’ve got it locked in,” Blair said. “Throw another one for fun, and it was fun.”

Roderick Townsend-Roberts continued the gold medal win in the T47 high jump, with a result of 2.09. And Alexa Halko rounded out the medal count with a silver in the women’s 800-meter T34.

There were tears of joy and celebration on the court after the women’s goalball team won the bronze medal, beating out host country Brazil 3-2.

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U.S. Women’s Goalball celebrate after winning Bronze in Rio. Photo by Michael Clubine.

Jen Armbruster, Asya Miller and Amanda Dennis started off on the court for Team USA. Armbruster scored two goals in the first half; one on a long-arm penalty. The trio stay in for the second half, and Armbruster scored a third time for Team USA.

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Jen Armbruster blocks a shot in the women´s goalball final match, played in the Future Arena. Photo By Michael Clubine.

Brazil managed to get a ball past the U.S. defense with 3 minutes left in the game, but they remained one point behind. The women’s team came in third place overall, a long way from 2012 London’s games when they placed sixth.

“This is so special because we lost in London, and we were favorites to win,” said Dennis. “This time around we worked so hard to get here; we worked four years to win when it mattered.”

In men’s goalball, Team USA faced fierce opponent Lithuania in the gold medal match. The European team managed to score five times in the first half. By halftime, the score was 5-1. The U.S. team struggled with defending the goal, and Lithuania scored three more times in the first three minutes of the second half.

But with the top two teams competing in the game for visually-impaired players, it was still anyone’s game. The U.S. substituted several players and managed to score 7 points in the second half. But in the end, Lithuania came out on top, winning 14-8. And Team USA came away with the silver medal.

“We’re looking forward to some needed rest. We’ve been training hard for a year straight, no off-season,” said Tyler Merren. “We got to close to where we want to be, but we know the gold is out there.”

“I’d love to hear my anthem, so that’s my goal for next games,” said player Joseph Hamilton.

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The men’s goalball team at their silver victory ceremony. Photo By Michael Clubine.

It wasn’t good news for the men’s sitting volleyball team. The team played hard against China and even garnered the support of the Brazilian crowd. But it wasn’t enough. China beat them in all three sets. Overall, the U.S. team lost all four of their games in Brazil.

In swimming, the U.S. clinched bronze in the women’s 4×100-meter medley-34pts final, finishing at 4:50.34. Great Britain took gold, and Australia took Silver.

Paralympian superstar Becca Meyers finished her last race in Rio. This time she claimed a silver medal in the women’s 100-meter freestyle S13.

McKenzie Coan, who’s already won two gold medals in Rio, earned her third medal in the women’s 100-meter freestyle S7 final. Her world champion teammate, Courtney Jordan, joined her on the podium again with a silver medal. Jordan was emotionally overwhelmed as she embraced Coan on the deck.

“We are training partners; we spend every day together; she lives two miles up the road; she is my best friend,” Coan said. “Having her by my side pushes me, I don’t know if I would be so fast without her.”

Inside the Carioca Arena, Team USA defeated Japan 57-56 in a very intense physical game of wheelchair rugby, lead by Chuck Aoki, who scored 26 points. They’ll take on Canada in the semifinals.

And after several day of races, two U.S. sailing teams will advance to the medal-contending races, the three-person sonar and the one-person 2.4mR.

In the sonar, the U.S. team has been holding onto second place going into the medal races.  And Dee Smith finished first and fifth. He’s currently in fourth place and only two points away from third place.

 
Recap Day Eight: U.S. Paralympic Team Adds Nine More Medals To The Count Print E-mail
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By Orge Castellano and Mariya Abedi  September 16, 2016

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.

tl1_0976
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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