RIO DE JANEIRO — Four more medals poured in for Team USA on Friday at Olympic Stadium, highlighted by three gold-medal performances and a world record on the ninth day of competition.
David Blair (Eagle Mountain, Utah) was a man of confidence in the throwers’ circle, proving himself on the biggest stage to win gold in record-setting fashion at his first Paralympic Games in the men’s discus F44. On his third attempt, Blair added more than a meter to break his former world record and earn his first trip to the top of the podium with a throw of 64.11-meters. He took the Paralympic crown from U.S. teammate Jeremy Campbell (Perryton, Texas), who finished just off the podium in fourth with a best throw of 56.03.
"Before I went into the ring for my last throw I thought about my return, the world record, first place, and that I’ve got it locked in,” Blair said. “I wanted to throw another one for fun and it was fun.”
Roderick Townsend (Stockton, California) had the crowd on its feet after every effortless jump in the men’s high jump T47. Townsend, the world record holder and defending world champion in the event, didn’t enter the competition until the 1.99-meter mark. He cleared that and the next three heights on the first attempt before attempting a new world record height of 2.13. The 24-year-old came up short, but set a Paralympic record to capture his second gold in his Paralympic debut.
“It’s extremely humbling,” said Townsend, who took a victory lap proudly waiving the American flag around the stadium. “Regardless of how I feel like I should’ve performed when it comes down to it, I won two gold medals and that’s always the goal at the Games, to walk away with a victory.”
Deja Young (Mesquite, Texas) dashed to her second gold in the women’s 200 T47, fending off Poland’s Alicja Fiodorow to cross the finish line in 25.46. The 20-year-old, who picked up Paralympic sport a year ago, was still in awe over her accomplishments in Rio.
“It feels pretty amazing,” Young said. “The first gold hasn’t hit me yet. I’m still trying to catch up with reality. I just won two gold medals at my first Paralympic Games and I couldn’t feel happier.”
Alexa Halko (Williamsburg, Virginia) continued her medal streak at her first Paralympic Games by adding another silver to her collection in the women’s 800 T34. The youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic Track & Field Team crossed the finish line in 2:02.08 behind Great Britain’s world-record holder Hannah Cockroft who had a trio of wins in the T34 class in Rio.
Team USA heads into its final day at Olympic Stadium having increased its medal haul to 37 on the track with 15 gold, 13 silver and 9 bronze.
Visit USParalympics.org/Rio2016 for more information on Team USA at the Paralympic Games, including athlete bios, schedule and live streaming. Follow the U.S. Paralympic team on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.