After my e-book before the summer with profiles of British female athletes competing in London, I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate those women who achieved gold medals. Of course it wasn’t just about medals this summer; all of our athletes were outstanding, and London as a whole, especially those working on the games, deserves a huge amount of credit for what was achieved. Nevertheless I thought I would start with a profile of paralympic cyclist, Sarah Storey.
Sarah Storey joined the ranks of Britain’s greatest ever Paralympians in London this summer, winning her fourth cycling gold medal of the London Games in the women’s road race in an utterly imperious ride that saw her finish more than seven minutes ahead of her closest rival.
So dominant was the 34-year-old from Cheshire in the 64km race that by the second lap of the Brands Hatch course, having left the women’s field far behind her, she caught and passed the peloton of the men’s road race, which had started two minutes earlier.
Her victory, the 11th gold of a career spanning six Paralympic Games, equals the modern-era records of wheelchair racer Tanni Grey-Thompson and swimmer Dave Roberts. But the cyclist’s tally is all the more remarkable given that she began her Paralympics career, as a 14-year-old at the Barcelona Games, as a swimmer, winning two golds and three silvers in her debut appearance in 1992. London is her second Games competing as a cyclist – she won double gold in Beijing in her track and time trial debut.
Speaking immediately after the race, Storey said she was “just so chuffed” to have matched in the road racing the two golds she won in the velodrome, after taking time trial gold with an almost equally comfortable.
Asked about equalling the records of Roberts and Grey-Thompson, Storey said: “To be even on the same page … as Tanni, but to have won 11 and made today a clean sweep for this week is just a dream come true. I can’t thank enough people. I’m so proud to be part of such an amazing team and I’m just so pleased to be finished now as well.”