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Aussie cyclists score first of six gold medals at Tokyo Paralympics

Julian Linden, August 26, 2021 7:34AM News Corp Australia Network

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Cyclists Emily Petricola and Paige Greco celebrate together after claiming the first two gold medals of the Tokyo Paralympics and the first two for Australia. Picture: PA media_cameraCyclists Emily Petricola and Paige Greco celebrate together after claiming the first two gold medals of the Tokyo Paralympics and the first two for Australia. Picture: PA

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Australia won the first two gold medals up for grabs at the Tokyo Paralympics in an incredible first day of competition that put us at the top of the medal table.

We finished the day with 10 medals, including six golds.

The first two golds came within 15 minutes of each other in track cycling at the Izu Velodrome*.

Paige Greco kicked off Australia’s medal count when she obliterated* her own world record to win the C3 classification for the women’s 3000m individual pursuit.

Then Emily Petricola – who broke her own world record in the C4 class in the morning heats – won gold in her race in even more dominant* fashion, lapping her American opponent, Shawn Morelli, with three laps still to go.

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 1 media_cameraEmily Petricola sets a speedy pace in the final of the women’s C4 3000m individual pursuit at Izu Velodrome on day one of the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Picture: Getty Images

Greco, racing against China’s Xiaomei Wang, won her gold medal race easily in a time of 3mins 50.815sec, eclipsing the world record mark of 3mins 52.283sec she set earlier in the day.

Greco was just too fast and strong for her Chinese rival from the outset, opening up a lead of more than one second after the first 1000m, then finished more than four seconds in front.

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 1 media_cameraPaige Greco added a Paralympic gold medal to her achievements in cycling. Picture: Getty Images

Greco has cerebral palsy, which affects the right side of her body. She has already won four world tiles, both in track and road cycling, but this was her first Paralympic gold.

It was also a first Paralympic gold for Petricola, who was making her Paralympic debut at age 41. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 27, she was a latecomer to cycling but has been guided by her friend and mentor*, Shane Kelly, a former world champion.

Morelli set off fast to try and rattle the Australian, leading through the first 500m, but was unable to maintain the pace as Petricola caught up after nine of the scheduled 12 laps.

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 1 media_cameraIt was also a first Paralympic gold medal for Emily Petricola, who is competing at her first Games. Picture: Getty Images

It was a golden start to day one of competition for Australia, with our swimmers continuing the medal rush in the evening, adding four golds, a silver and three bronze to put Australia on top of the medal table.

Will Martin won Australia’s first swimming gold medal. Better known as a butterfly swimmer, Martin won the men’s S9 400m freestyle in 4min 10.25sec.

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 1 media_cameraWill Martin celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s S9 400m freestyle final at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Picture: Getty Images

In the very next race, Lakeisha Patterson also took gold in the women’s S9 400m freestyle final.

“It was such a hard race,” Patterson told Channel 7. “I knew it was going to be a tight one.

“I’m feeling more fried than a chook from KFC.”

The medal rush continued when Rowan Crothers won the men’s S10 50m freestyle final and Ben Popham took gold in the men’s S8 100m freestyle.

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 1 media_cameraLakeisha Patterson raises her arm in triumph after winning the women’s S9 400m freestyle final on day one of competition at Tokyo. Picture: Getty Images

GLOSSARY

  • velodrome: a track for bicycle racing, usually with steep sides
  • obliterated: totally destroyed, wiped out
  • dominant: having power over others
  • latecomer: a person who arrives late or starts something late compared to others
  • mentor: experienced and trusted adviser

EXTRA READING

Paralympics kick off in blaze of colour

Bear attack survivor going for Tokyo gold

How the Paralympics became a world sporting spectacular

QUICK QUIZ

  1. What is the name of the track where the cyclists are competing in Tokyo?
  2. Which of the Australian cyclists in this story won the first gold medal of the Paralympics and the first for Australia?
  3. What did both of the Australian cyclists do in the morning heats?
  4. What condition was Emily Petricola diagnosed with at the age of 27?
  5. Which former world cycling champion has guided Emily Petricola?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Performance enhancing outfits and equipment
Draw a sketch of the uniforms and equipment used by competitors in track cycling. Label your sketch to point out any features that are designed to help in the sportsperson’s performance. (For example, the uniform may be skin-tight so that it is as aerodynamic as possible.)

Then, draw a design for some new and improved uniforms and equipment for this sport. For the purposes of this activity, imagine that there are no regulations and you are allowed to include any features you like as long as they are not harmful to any competitors.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Health and Physical Education

2. Extension
Write a one-minute sales pitch for your new uniform and equipment design, convincing the team manager to purchase your product for their team.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Health and Physical Education; Drama

VCOP ACTIVITY
Paralympic Word Splash
Let’s create a word splash. Sit with a partner, and between you, write the word PARALYMPICS in the middle of a piece of paper.

Decide who goes first. Then take it in turns to write a word around the central word that you associate with the Paralympics.

Keep a tally of how many words you can come up with. Your partner can challenge you to justify how or why the word is associated with the central word.

Did you come up with any wow words that you should share with your class and add to the Vocabulary display? Can you use them in a sentence?

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