LONDON – Three-time U.S. Paralympian Jessica Long got off to a sweet start Thursday at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, winning a gold medal and setting a new Paralympic record in the 100m butterfly S8 event on the first day of competition.
Long, who was the defending gold medalist in the event, proves to be in excellent form finishing in a time of 1:10.32, slightly short of her world record time of 1:10.13, set back in July. “As an athlete I set my goal very high and I can't ask for more than a gold medal,” she said after the race.
The combination Paralympic record and gold medal provide Long a platform in which to build over the week, with six more individual events and two relays in the upcoming days of competition. Still, she looks forward to more than just swimming fast and finishing on the podium.
"I plan to go out with a bang,” she said. “I cannot wait to see my family. I just want to see them right now."
Long’s robust program mirrors her efforts in Beijing four years ago, where she competed in nine events and won seven gold medals, a silver and a bronze. She will return to the pool tomorrow for the 400m freestyle.