It’s been quite a story for ParalympicsGB’s golden girl Dame Sarah


Twenty-nine years after stepping onto the podium for the first time at the Paralympic Games, Dame Sarah Storey is still here as she draws closer to history.

Storey looks set to become Britain’s most successful Paralympian after winning her 15th gold – and 26th overall – retaining her C5 3000m individual pursuit title in Tokyo.

She did it in style, breaking her own world record before overtaking compatriot Crystal Lane-Wright in the final.

The 43-year-old has two more events to go as she tries to break Mike Kenny’s UK record of 16 gold medals.


Storey’s exploits, which began at age 14 in 1992 at the Barcelona Games where she won two gold, three silver and one bronze in the pool, are all the more noteworthy as she dominated the world in two sports.

She had won 16 Paralympic medals as a swimmer before an ear infection caused her to change disciplines and become even more successful on the bike.

In 2005, Storey was unable to go to the pool due to a persistent ear problem and instead cycled to stay in shape. In less than a year, she broke the world record for the three-kilometer paracycling individual pursuit and the rest is history.

Storey was born in Eccles, Manchester, in 1977 with a partially formed left hand.

At the age of four she hit the pool and, after watching Sarah Hardcastle, 15, win silver and bronze at the Olympics two years later in Los Angeles, she had her eye on the glory.

Little did she know the Paralympics existed before 1990, but just two years later she was competing – and winning – in the pool.

Two gold, three silver and one bronze were an incredible comeback as she became Britain’s youngest Paralympic gold medalist – a record that lasted until Ellie Simmonds wins in Beijing 16 years later.

Three more gold medals followed in Atlanta in 1996, while the Sydney and Athens Games brought him five more before the ear infection changed the course of his career – and the book of records.

It was a familiar position for Storey at the top of the podium

It was a familiar position for Storey at the top of the podium (Tim Goode / PA)

Her first international cycling competition was the European Championships 2005. She won three gold medals. More success followed in the 2007 World Championships.

She returned to the Paralympic Games for the fifth time in 2008 and quickly added two gold medals to her collection. Her time in the individual pursuit would have seen her finish eighth in the able-bodied event.

Storey competed regularly in able-bodied events, winning individual pursuit titles at the British Cycling Championships in 2008 and 2009 before representing England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where she finished sixth in the women’s individual pursuit, in front of Laura Trott.

She was hoping to make the team pursuit team for the 2012 Olympics. Although she was part of the successful team at the 2011 World Cup in Cali, Colombia, she missed the selection. for London, with Joanna Rowsell, Dani King and Trott taking gold.

Nothing stopped her at the London Paralympic Games, however. She won two gold medals on the road – the time trial and the road race – and added two more on the track in the individual pursuit and the time trial, while her husband Barney has piloted Neil Fachie to gold in the men’s 1km time trial.

After London, the Storeys had a baby but Sarah quickly got back on the bike. Other world titles followed in 2014, while the following year she was 563 meters away from breaking the UCI hour record for able-bodied women.

Three more gold medals followed in Rio and, after the birth of her second child three years ago, there were doubts whether the competition would continue.

But she had the story in her sights and few people will bet against her achievement.


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