Dame Sarah Storey rides to victory to claim 16th career gold at Tokyo 2020

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 9:04 am
Dame Sarah Storey rode to victory in the women’s C5 time trial (Photo: Getty Images)

Dame Sarah Storey rode to victory in the women’s C5 time trial to claim the 16th gold of her career at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Her win means she has now equalled Great Britain’s record for Paralympic gold medals, emulating the achievement of former swimmer Mike Kenny.

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‘A dream come true’

The Team GB cyclist achieved an exceptional win, completing the time trial in 36:08:90 on the Fuji International Speedway circuit.

Fellow GB rider Crystal Lane-Wright claimed the silver medal in a time of 37:40:89, with Germany’s Kerstin Brachtendorf taking the bronze.

Dame Sarah will have to wait until the C4-5 road race on Thursday (2 September) for a chance to surpass 76-year-old Kenny in the overall gold medal table, although she is now already more successful with a total haul of 27 medals to his 18.

The last of Kenny’s 16 golds and two silvers came in Seoul in 1988, four years before Dame Sarah began her own Paralympic career.

Dame Sarah has equalled Great Britain’s record for Paralympic gold medals (Photo: Getty Images)

The 43-year-old described winning yet another gold as “a dream come true”, adding that she never imagined becoming Britain’s greatest Paralympian.

She said: “I never set out on this journey to be Britain’s greatest Paralympian, but to match the best man and to have more other medals is just a dream come true – well, it is almost a dream that was not one.

“The closer we have got to Tokyo, the more it has been like: This is a possibility. It really could happen. You just don’t know.

“I am just so chuffed. I have been preparing for this for such a long time. It is such a sweet feeling.

“Sweet 16!! Can I be 16 again?!”.

From swimmer to cyclist

Dame Sarah started out her Paralympic journey as a 14-year-old swimmer in Barcelona and won five golds in the pool across four different Games before making the switch to cycling.

She competed on the bike for the first time in Beijing 2008 and enjoyed even greater success on two wheels.

The swimmer turned cyclist travelled to Tokyo needed three more titles from as many events to stand alone as Britain’s most successful Paralympian.

In the foothills of Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, around 68 miles south-west of the host city, Dame Sarah kicked off her quest with a glorious victory over compatriot Lane-Wright, taking GB’s maiden medal of the Games with last week’s triumph in the C5 3000m individual pursuit.

The mother-of-two went on to claim another win on a circuit where British Formula One driver James Hunt clinched the 1976 World Championship during his battles with great rival Niki Lauda.

Despite being forced to dodge riders in the men’s race in overcast conditions, she crossed the finish line with a punch of the air, securing a time trial title at a fourth successive Games, setting up her chances of further enhancing her place in the history books later this week.

Speaking about the possibility of winning her 17th gold, she said: “That is something that may happen in the future – it may happen on Thursday.

“Who knows in a road race?

“There is no foregone conclusion in any race, but especially not in a road race.”

This article originally appeared on our sister site, NationalWorld.