RIO DE JANEIRO – Two-time Paralympic cyclist Joe Berenyi (Oswego, Illinois) claimed silver today in the C3 3000m individual pursuit. Today’s silver is his first medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and the fourth Paralympic medal of his career.
The race was another close one for the Americans as Berenyi maintained a lead of less than one second over Australia’s David Nicholas through the 2000-meter mark. Nicholas, who is 23 years Berenyi’s junior, proved to be too strong, eventually taking the lead at the 2500-meter mark and maintaining it through to the finish. Berenyi, who won gold in this same event four years ago at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, finished with a time of 3:34.042, just 1.014 behind Nicholas who recorded a winning time of 3:33.028.
Immediately following the race Berenyi reflected on his strategy and was quick to note how close it was from start to finish.
“I changed gears in this race, and opened up a little slower to hold on, but on the last couple laps I knew he was getting up on me by the way my coach was directing me,” stated Berenyi. “That’s just the way it happens sometimes.”
Despite narrowly missing the gold, Berenyi was still very satisfied with his performance on the track today.
“To win a medal in my second Games is just fantastic,” said Berenyi. “It’s never a bad thing to win a silver, I am just very happy to because a lot of hard work went into preparing for this.”
The U.S. has now won five cycling medals in the first two days on the track, which is something that Ian Lawless, high performance director for U.S. Paralympics cycling, could not be more proud about.
“It’s just been a fantastic way for us to start the Games,” said Lawless. “It gives us a huge head start for the rest of the track competition as we head to the roads - it is huge.”
Lawless went on to add that having two successful days so early in the Games has certainly taken the pressure off and that he will look to build on the momentum that his team has created thus far.
“These first two days have been super important in that they let us settle into the Games,” said Lawless. “Everybody was so nervous coming into the competition but this has given us so much confidence. It really allows everyone to get focused on the next race instead of worrying about winning our first medal.”
Three other U.S. cyclists were in action today and all of them made their Paralympic debut.
Billy Lister (Cold Spring Harbor, New York) took part in the 3000m individual pursuit qualifier during the morning session. Lister recorded a time of 4:08.275, placing him sixth overall. Chris Murphy (Rancho Cucamonga, California) and Marine Corps veteran Scott Martin (Oceanside, California) took part in the C4-5 1000m time trial final, finishing eighth and 15th, respectively.
Nine Americans will be in action again tomorrow at the velodrome. The U.S. will have several opportunities to add to its medal count as tomorrow’s schedule features five medal events.
Visit USParalympics.org/Rio2016 for more information on Team USA at the Paralympic Games, including athlete bios, team history and links to competition schedules. Follow the U.S. Paralympic team on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.