2008 PARALYMPIC GAMES: U.S. Team Adds Five More Medals to Count; Marathon Competition Wednesday
BEIJING, China - The U.S. Paralympic Track & Field Team added five more medals to its tally on Wednesday, the final day of competition on the track at the Bird's Nest Stadium.
Casey Tibbs (San Diego, Calif.), an active duty sailor with the U.S. Navy, won bronze in the long jump. The feat was remarkable considering he scratched on all jumps but one, but that one, measuring 6.39m and 988 points, sealed the deal - and the bronze - for Tibbs. He finished behind gold medalist Wojtek Czyz of Germany and silver medalist Atsushi Yamamoto of Japan.
"Coming here was so much larger than I thought it would be; it was a whole other level of competition, and everyone stepped it up," said Tibbs. "I will leave Beijing knowing that I tried my best."
Teammates Jeremy Campbell (Chula Vista, CAlif./Perryton, Texas) and Jeff Skiba (Chula Vista, Calif./Sammamish, Wash.) finished in fourth (6.36m, 983 pts) and ninth place (5.83m, 901 pts), respectively.
In the men's 100m final (T53), Josh George (Champaign, Ill.) claimed the gold medal he has worked so hard for. George, who was slow off the line, picked up speed around the 40-meter mark to best his opponents for the gold medal finish in 14.79.
"It's my first gold in this Paralympics and I'm very satisfied," said George. "I want to dedicate this medal to my coach Adam Bleakney; all of my good performances are thanks to him."
The men's 4x100 relay team comprised of Brian Frasure (Apex, N.C.), Jim Bob Bizzell (Abilene, Texas), Casey Tibbs (San Diego, Calif.) and Jerome Singleton (Irmo, S.C.) won gold and set a new world record in the event, breaking the U.S. record which has stood since the 2006, edging out their second place competitors from Brazil by almost three-seconds.
Said a breathless Singleton, "I never imagined I would come here and set a new world record. It feels ever better to do it as a team because we all worked together to achieve a common goal."
For Frasure, who plans to retire after Beijing, he couldn't have scripted the finish any better.
"I can't imagine it [the race] being any more perfect," said Frasure. "I swear that had to the best fastest 100m I ever ran in my life (laughs). Walking out into the stadium and hearing the cheers really got the adrenaline pumping. I just can't imagine going out any way more perfect than this."
The women's 4x100m relay team (T53/54) also found success in its relay, winning bronze with a final time of 1:02.1, behind China (gold) and Australia (silver). The four-woman team of Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Md.), Jessica Galli (Savoy, Ill./Hillsborough, N.J.), Amanda McGrory (Champaign, Ill.) and Anjali Forber-Pratt (Natick, Mass.) had little practice time together prior to the event, but managed to shave off three seconds between training and race day.
The last medal of the night, silver, was won by Jim Bob Bizzell (Abilene, Texas), a former All-American from McMurry University who lost his leg just 17-months ago in a motorcycle accident. Bizzell finished behind Oscar Pistorius of South Africa, who set a new world record for the men's T43 class (47.49). Bizzell set a new world record of his own in the T44 class - 50.98. The record was previously held by U.S. teammate Danny Andrews (Tucson, Ariz.), who finished in fourth (53.15).
Additional U.S. finals results:
In the women's 1500m final (T54), the U.S. narrowly missed a bronze when Jessica Galli (Savoy, Ill./Hillsborough, N.J.) finished in fourth in 3:41.68. Amanda McGrory (Champaign, Ill./Kennett Square, Pa.) finished in fifth with a time of 3:42.17 and Shirley Reilly (Tucson, Ariz.) came in seventh in 3:43.54.
In the men's shot put (F53/54) final, Scot Severn (Caro, Mich.) finished in ninth place throwing for 7.76m and 995 points. Teammate Carlos Leon finished in 15th place with a best distance of 6.95m for 855 points.
In the men's discus final (F42), Matt Brown (Idalou, Texas) just missed the medal stand with a fourth place finish, throwing 42.25m.
Competition (last event) - Wednesday, September 17
7:30 Men's & Women's Marathon
U.S. athletes competing include:
Women - Cheri Blauwet (Palo Alto, Calif.), Amanda McGrory (Champaign, Ill./Kennett Square, Pa.), Shirley Reilly (Tucson, Ariz.)
Men - Adam Bleakney (Champaign, Ill.), Tyler Byers (Washington, D.C.), Joshua George (Champaign, Ill.), Tony Iniguez (Aurora, Ill.), Steven Toyoji (Tucson, Ariz.)
Complete marathon results will be available at http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRMP/ENG/Schedule/AT_2008-09-17.shtml.
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).