Belfast Telegraph

Rio Paralympics: Sarah Storey wins 12th gold medal for Team GB

Sarah Storey won her 12th Paralympic gold medal on Thursday's opening day of the Rio Games.

The 38-year-old swimmer-turned-cyclist surpassed former wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson as the British female with the most Paralympic titles by winning the C5 three-kilometres individual pursuit in the velodrome.

The honour of Britain's first medal of the XV Paralympics went to Megan Giglia, who won gold in the C1-2-3 3km individual pursuit moments prior to Storey.

Storey qualified in a world-record time of three minutes 31.394 seconds - more than 17 seconds quicker than Crystal Lane in qualifying.

She overtook her team-mate before the halfway point in the final to claim gold.

Lane, appearing in her second Paralympics, won her first medal with silver.

Storey won her first two Paralympic gold medals as a 14-year-old swimmer in Barcelona in 1992.

She insisted a third successive individual pursuit title since switching to the bike prior to the Beijing Games in 2008 would not be a formality. But it was.

Storey's class told in qualifying on Thursday morning and she delivered with her seventh cycling gold medal at her seventh Games.

Giglia also clocked a world record in qualifying in 4:03.544, more than eight seconds clear of the United States' Jamie Whitmore, her rival in the final.

The 31-year-old, who suffered a brain haemorrhage in January 2013, won the world title in Italy in March and put in a dominant performance again when it mattered.

She closed in on Whitmore at the halfway mark and passed the American soon after to take gold. She had the option to continue to go for another world record, but opted not to.

"To be fair it hasn't sunk in yet, all I know is I wouldn't be here without my team, the back up crew behind me here, my family and friends," Giglia said on Channel 4.

"I only look forward to the future. I didn't think I would make it to Rio, I thought it was a bit ambitious but I thought I would give it a go.

"Within the British camp the atmosphere is great, everyone is hyped up and ready to go.

"I hope this will be the first of many golds. I've still got three events to go so we'll have to see.

"I've got my main event out of the way now so I can just enjoy the rest of them with my legs pedalling fast."

Five things

Dame Sarah Storey won the C5 three-kilometres individual pursuit at the Rio Paralympics on Thursday.

The 38-year-old's 12th gold sees her surpass former wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson as the British female with the most Paralympic gold medals.

We look at five things about Storey.


Aged 14 and then competing as Bailey, her maiden name, she won her first two gold medals as a Paralympic swimmer before returning home to start her GCSEs. She won six medals in all in 1992 - also claiming three silvers and a bronze - and collected five golds, eight silver and three bronze medals in the pool across four Games.


A series of chronic ear infections kept Storey out of the water in the aftermath of the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, where she won three medals, but no gold. Storey, who was born with a deformed left hand, began cross-training on the bike before switching sports in 2005. She married Barney Storey, a tandem pilot rider and track sprinter, in 2007.


Within three years of her first velodrome revolutions, two gold medals followed in Beijing - one on the same day as husband Barney. Along with archer Danielle Brown she became the first disabled athlete to represent England at a Commonwealth Games. Then, when the three-rider, 3km team pursuit was introduced to the London 2012 Olympics, Storey was in the squad, but was dropped in December 2011.


Storey won four titles at the London 2012 Paralympics - like wheelchair racer David Weir - to take her overall tally to 11 alongside Grey-Thompson. She won two in the velodrome - again one on the same day as her husband - and two on the road at Brands Hatch before taking 2013 off to give birth to daughter Louisa.


Storey has won nine gold medals at road and track World Championships since returning as a mum, taking her overall tally to 29. She has also regularly been at the sharp end of British Championships races and global events alongside the likes of Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Pooley and Laura Trott.

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