Dame Sarah Storey wins 17th gold medal to become Britain’s most successful Paralympian at Tokyo 2020
Dame Sarah Storey became the most successful British Paralympian of all time with a hard-fought victory in the C4-5 road race at Tokyo 2020 today.
The swimmer-turned-cyclist, who was born without a functioning left hand, won her 17th Paralympic gold medal, and her third of these Games, at Fuji Speedway.
“I couldn’t have imagined going to eight Games, let alone winning medals at every Games, and 17 of those medals being gold,” said Storey.
“It’s the dream I didn’t think would come true. I just wanted to be a British athlete, I wanted to compete for my country for as long as I possibly could, and to still be going strong in Games number eight is truly amazing.”
Storey’s success saw her overtake swimmer Mike Kenny, whose British record of 16 Paralympic golds had stood for 33 years.
As with her other two wins in Tokyo, she led home team-mate Crystal Lane-Wright for a ParalympicsGB one-two.
Both riders had to chase down Germany’s Kerstin Brachtendorf, who had built up a 75-second advantage with around 25km to go.
“I never felt a weight on my shoulders. You’re defending a title and it’s added to a tally afterwards,” said Storey, who won five golds in swimming before switching to cycling.
“It is the sweetest feeling to know that I go back to my room and there are a couple of gold medals in the safe to put this one with. That makes that tally very real then.”
Lane-Wright said she would not aim to add to her four silver medals and one bronze at the Paris 2024 Paralympics.
“Right now, I never want to look at a bike again,” said the 35-year-old, runner-up to Storey in the individual pursuit and time trial.
“In order to get through lockdown and get to these Games I had to almost tell myself: ‘no more’.”
Ben Watson completed a time trial-road race double as he led home another British one-two in the men’s C1-3 event.
Fin Graham took silver, while Jaco van Gass, a gold medallist in the velodrome, was fifth.
“We came with plans to win this today and it paid off,” said Watson. “It’s amazing.”