Fans of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are wondering ‘who is Sarah Storey and how did she become disabled?’ as she prepares to represent Team GB.
The athlete is just one of many Paralympics determined to come home with a medal as the long-awaited games got off to a flying start yesterday (24th August) and saw Prince William and Kate Middleton issue a heartfelt message.
A whole host of disciplines will be covered by the games over the coming days – before it draws to a close on 5th September.
And as Sarah secures the first Gold medal for Team GB, we look at the questions you might have about the talented sportswoman…
Dame Sarah Storey is a Paralympian who has just won a Gold medal for Great Britain in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games after coming first in the Women’s Pursuit C5 track cycling.
Born in Eccles, Greater Manchester, Sarah started her Olympic career as a swimmer – winning two golds, three silvers and a bronze medal in Barcelona back in 1992.
The young athlete took part in a further three Paralympic Games before switching to cycling in 2005 after suffering a persistent ear infection.
Since then she had gone from strength to strength, in the 2008 Paralympic Games Sarah won the individual pursuit.
But it’s not just fellow Paralympics she competes against – just days after taking the individual title she also won the 3 km national track pursuit championship after competing against non-disabled athletes and defended her title in 2009.
Her success hasn’t stopped there – in 2010 she became “the first disabled cyclist to compete for England at the Commonwealth Games” and in 2014, she added a third national track title with a win in the points race.
In London’s 2021 Paralympic Games, she won Britain’s first gold medal in the women’s individual C5 pursuit and went on to win three more gold medals, one in the Time Trial C4–5 500m, one in the Individual Road Time Trial C5 and finally one in the Individual Road Race C4–5.
Meanwhile in the last Paralympics, Rio 2016, Sarah became Britain’s most successful female Paralympian when she won the C5 3000m individual pursuit final.
And she’s just scooped Britain’s first gold in the Tokyo Paralympics 2020.
Sarah Storey was born without a functioning left hand and this is how she became disabled. As a baby in her mother’s womb, Sarah’s arm became entangled in the umbilical cord and as a result when she was born the hand did not develop as normal.
Dame Sarah has previously opened up about her struggles in her youth as she was bullied and faced an eating disorder after achieving early success as a swimmer that saw her win two gold medals, three silvers and bronze when she was aged just 14.
But after returning to school to focus on her GCSEs, she was tormented by other pupils.
She said: “One of the instigators was someone who had been quite close to me; I knew her really well, but she didn’t like where my career was going. It wasn’t where her career was going and maybe that was the jealousy side.”
“I told my parents and we tried to be as pragmatic as we could because you can’t control someone else’s behaviour and if they don’t like you, they don’t like you. You can’t change that a great deal,” she added.
Sarah store is 43 years old and has two children.
In 2007 Sarah Storey married a tandem pilot and coach called Barney Storey. The couple, who live in Disley, Cheshire, has two children, a daughter Louisa Marie, eight, and son Charlie, aged three.
But the Paralympian feared that becoming a mother would put an end to her sporting career.
Speaking to Sky Sports News ahead of this summer’s Games she said, “Being able to come back after two pregnancies – that’s got to be my biggest achievement.’
In 2014 Sarah and her husband founded the Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International women’s amateur cycling team, supporting the charity Boot Out Breast Cancer.
And she attempted to break the world hour record at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London in 2015 when she set a distance of 45.502 km, which was 563m short of Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel’s 2003 overall world record – but her distance did set a new world record in the C5 Paralympic cycling class as well as a new British record.
Sarah also scooped The National Lottery Spirit of Sport Award during The SJA British Sports Awards 2016.
And was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1998 New Year Honours, appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours and appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours.
In case you missed it, you can watch Sarah win gold in the Tokyo Paralympics 2020 in the clip below…
We can’t wait to see what other medals Team GB returns home with!
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