2008 PARALYMPIC GAMES: U.S. Pulls in Four Medals on the Track; Skiba & Holmes Win Gold, McFadden Earns Two Silver
BEIJING, China - Team USA's best performance of the 2008 Paralympic Games competition thus far came today, yielding four medals - two gold and two silver.
Nineteen-year-old Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Md.) got the winning streak started in the women's 200m (T54) final. McFadden, who won bronze in the event at the 2004 Paralympic Games, set a new personal best time - 28.43 - and clinched silver.
McFadden went two for two by capturing a second silver medal - this time in the women's 800m (T54) with a personal best time of 1:46.95.
"Oh my gosh, I'm so overwhelmed," said McFadden upon winning her second silver medal on the meet - and the evening. "I'm here in Beijing competing with the best of the best. The 800m made me nervous because I didn't qualify in Athens, so I'm happy to see how my training has paid off."
April Holmes (Chula Vista, Calif./Somerdale, N.J.), world record holder in the 100m (12.98), won gold in the event with an uncharacteristically slow time - 13.72. Holmes struggled in the last 20 meters of the race but managed to pull out a strong finish to the line, edging out Marie-Amelie le Fur of France.
"Adrenaline kept me there," said Holmes. "Adrenaline and the grace of God helped me to the finish line because I am not healthy, but I got there."
Holmes and the other seven competitors in her heat all took a victory lap around the Bird's Nest track after the race wrapped up.
"None of us had this chance in 2004, so it was important for us all to come together and celebrate our accomplishments," said Holmes. "The fact that we have this many women racing in our class now is a sign of the times and hope for the sport in the future."
Having too few competitors in the women's T44 class in the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, Holmes was forced to run with the T46 class (arm amputees), which put her at a clear disadvantage.
The fourth and final medal on the night also included a world record performance by Jeff Skiba (Chula Vista, Calif./Sammamish, Wash.). Skiba broke his own world record in the high jump (F44/46) to capture the gold medal and set a new mark of 2.11m (6'11") and 1056 points.
Skiba, who competed in a combined class (T44/46), dominated the competition with the next closest competitor, Aaron Chatman of Australia, jumping 2.02m.
"My goal was to win a gold medal," said Skiba. "To come away with a gold medal and to hold the title of Paralympic champion - that's the greatest achievement in our sport."
In other finals action on the day, Scot Severn (Caro, Mich.), who made his Paralympic Games debut, set a season's best score of 23.71m for 934 points in the men's discus (T53/54) final.
Fourteen-year-old Chelsea McClammer (Benton City, Wash.), youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic Team, dropped six more seconds off her time in the women's 800m (T54) final, topping last night's finish with a new personal best - 1:51.88 and an eighth place finish.
Additional U.S. Results
- Men's 200m (T13)/prelim - Josiah Jamison (Chula Vista, Calif./Vance, S.C.) - 22.20 (Q)
- Women's 200m (T53)/prelim - Anjali Forber-Pratt (Natick, Mass.) - 31.66 (Q), Maggie Redden (State College, Pa./Jersey City, N.J.) - 35.13, Jessica Galli (Savoy, Ill./Hillsborough, N.J.) - 30.58 (Q)
- Women's 200m (T54)/prelim - Jennifer Goeckel (Seattle, Wash.) - 32.84 (SB)
- Men's 800m (T53)/prelim - Josh George (Champaign, Ill.) - 1:38.30 (Q), Adam Bleakney - 1:40.94
- Men's 800m (T52)/prelim - Josh Roberts (Oxford, Ala.) - 2:21.10, Steven Toyoji (Tucson, Ariz.) - 2:07.63
• Men's 1500m (T54)/prelim - Tyler Byers (Washington, D.C.), Joshua George (Champaign, Ill.) and Tony Iniguez (Aurora, Ill.) all advance to semifinals
Competition Schedule - Monday, September 15
9:03 Men's Long Jump (F11)/final - Elexis Gillette (Raleigh, N.C.)
9:06 Women's 1500m (T54)/semifinal - Jessica Galli (Savoy, Ill./Hillsborough, N.J.), Amanda McGrory (Champaign, Ill./Kennett Square, Pa.), Shirley Reilly (Tucson,
9:10 Women's Shot put (F32/33/52/54)/final - Robyn Stawski (Tampa, Fla.)
9:23 Men's 1500m (T54)/semifinal - Tyler Byers (Washington, D.C.), Joshua George (Champaign, Ill.), Tony Iniguez (Aurora, Ill.)
9:46 Men's 200m (T13)/prelim - Royal Mitchell (Chula Vista, Calif./Ridgeland, S.C.)
9:50 Men's Shot put (F40)/final - Scott Danberg (Cooper City, Fla.)
10:31 Women's 200m (T53)/final - Anjali Forber-Pratt (Natick, Mass.), Jessica Galli (Savoy, Ill./Hillsborough, N.J.), Maggie Redden (State College, Pa./Jersey City, N.J.)
10:38 Men's 200m (T12)/semifinal - Josiah Jamison (Chula Vista, Calif./Vance, S.C.)
12:11 Men's 100m (T54)/prelim - Erik Hightower (Glendale, Ariz.)
17:00 Men's Shot put (F55/56)/final - Scott Winkler (Grovetown, Ga.)
17:34 Men's 800m (T13)/final - Peter Gottwald (West Chester, Pa.)
17:40 Men's Discus (F44)/final - Jeff Skiba (Chula Vista, Calif./Sammamish, Wash.), Jeremy Campbell (Chula Vista, Calif./Perryton, Texas)
17:50 Women's 800m (T53)/final - Cheri Blauwet (Palo Alto, Calif.), Jessica Galli, Amanda McGrory
18:00 Women's Shot put (F40)/final - Jill Kennedy (Charlottesville, Va.)
18:17 Women's 100m (T52)/final - Mallerie Badgett (Oxford, Ala.), Cheryl Leitner (Toms River, N.J.), Kerri Morgan (St. Louis, Mo.)
18:48 Men's 800m (T53)/final - Josh George (Champaign, Ill.)
19:04 Men's 4x100m Relay/prelim (T11-13)
For complete track & field competition results, visit http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRMP/ENG/Schedule/AT.shtml.
For more information or to arrange an athlete interview, please contact Beth Bourgeois at 139-1075-4847 (if calling from the U.S., dial 011 86 plus the local number).