Richard Browne ready for showdown with able-bodied racers

By Jamie M. Blanchard | Jan. 31, 2014, 12:45 p.m. (ET)
Richard Browne
Jonnie Peacock of Great Britain narrowly beat Richard Browne in the men's 100-meter T43/44 final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Browne went on to set the world record in 2013.

After making history at the Glasgow International Match on Jan. 25 in Scotland, where he was the first Paralympic sprinter to compete with Team USA at that meet, Richard Browne will compete against able-bodied athletes at the Meeting de Mondeville on Saturday in France. A competitor in the men’s 60-meter T44 race in Glasgow, against other amputees, Meeting de Mondeville marks the first time he will race able-bodied athletes in an international setting.

“Glasgow was a great experience, especially being the first U.S. amputee sprinter to compete there,” said Browne, who won the men’s 60 meter race for T44 athletes in a time of 7.25. “Coming out with the victory and getting the U.S. those four points was an amazing feeling. I could have had a better race as far as execution goes but can't argue with the outcome.”

Highlighted by six gold medal performances, Team USA took home bronze in the team standings at the Glasgow International Match.

“Now that I'm moving on to my next race in Mondeville, I feel a lot of pressure to perform well because this is huge for Paralympic sprinting as a whole,” Browne said. “Not since Oscar [Pistorius] has a para-sprinter been able to compete with able-bodied sprinter on an international level. It does great things for the sport, progressing track and field toward more inclusion of para-sprinting in major events. The goal is to get the Diamond League and other IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) events on board to include T43/44 events as not a secular thing, as it has been treated in the recent pass, but as a main event because that's what we deserve.” 

South Africa’s Pistorius, a double below the knee amputee, medaled in the 4x400 relay at the 2011 able-bodied world championships and made the semifinals in the 400m at the London 2012 Olympic Games. He went on to compete at the 2012 Paralympic Games, his third, winning two gold medals and one silver.

Browne, who finished second in the men’s 100m at the 2012 Paralympic Games and the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships to Jonnie Peacock of Great Britain, hopes to become the first American amputee to run at the Olympic Games. He is the 100m world record holder in his classification.

 “As for me individually, I'm looking to qualify for USA indoor nationals,” Browne said. “To do that, I need to run 6.75 or better over 60 meters. This weekend in Mondeville, I have a great opportunity to do that. After Mondeville, I will be competing in the Birmingham Athletics Indoor Grand Prix, then hopefully US indoors- which will end my indoor season. This year, I'm jumping up to the 200 outdoor so that will be my focus as soon as indoor ends.”

The 2014 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships are Feb. 21-23 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Browne is on the 2014 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Team.