BEIJING, China - Karissa Whitsell (B&VI/Eugene, Ore.) holds the current world record and Paralympic record in the Women's Individual Pursuit (B&VI). But according to Whitsell, tonight's bronze medal performance with new pilot Mackenzie Woodring (Pilot for Whitsell/Grand Rapids, Mich.), was almost as exciting as winning any gold medal in the past.
"I feel like winning the bronze was like winning the gold with all things considered," said a jubilant Whitsell. "We still have our best events to come so we are really excited."
In the qualification round of the event, Whitsell and Woodring posted a time of 3:42.237, five seconds faster than the fourth place finish and enough to get them into the bronze medal race.
"I was very pleased with our time," commented Whitsell, referring to the qualification round. "I wasn't sure what to expect considering this was our first pursuit, but I knew we had the potential."
In the finals of the individual pursuit, Whitsell and Woodring did not disappoint and posted a time of 3:41.521 to secure the bronze medal and take their place on the podium stand.
"Being able to mix it up with the other competitors, knowing the caliber of those athletes was great," added Woodring, relishing in her first opportunity to be on the Paralympic medal stand. "It went very well and we were definitely smooth together."
"I agree with Karissa - the bronze today was like winning the gold because it was unexpected." Head Coach Craig Griffin (Colorado Springs, Colo.) commented. "We have a lot of talent we haven't even tapped into at this point."
In other races today, Anthony Zahn (LC4/Riverside, Calif.) posted a time of 4:27.048 in the Men's Individual Pursuit (LC4) qualification round, but did not make it to the finals. Mike Farrell (CP4/Colorado Springs, Colo.) also competed in the 1 Km Time Trial (CP 4) and finished with a time of 1:17.594.
Wednesday will mark the final day of track cycling and the U.S. expects to earn several more medals with the races scheduled. Allison Jones (LC3/Denver, Colo.) and Barbara Buchan (CP3/Bend, Ore.) will both start the morning at 9:45 competing in the qualification round of the Individual Pursuit (LC 3/LC 4/CP 3). Greta Neimanas (LC1/Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Jennifer Schuble (CP4/Homewood, Ala.) will follow that race, also in the Individual Pursuit in the LC 1/LC 2/CP 4 category. Schuble will be looking to win her second medal of the competition, after taking the gold in the Women's 500m Time Trial on Monday. Finals of both events will take place in the afternoon.
After a one day break, the U.S. will hit the road with 12 road racers competing in a variety of events the next three days. Road cycling will conclude on Sunday, September 14.
For more information or to arrange an athlete interview, please contact Katrina Shaklee at 13910754730 (if calling from the U.S., dial 011 86 plus the local number).