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Tatyana McFadden Successfully Defends 800-Meter Paralympic Title

By Brianna Tammaro | Sept. 17, 2016, 10:20 p.m. (ET)

Tatyana McFadden celebrates at the finish of the women's 800-meter T54 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on Sept. 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

RIO DE JANEIRO – Team USA put the finishing touches on the track on Saturday, taking home three medals—one of each color—on the closing day of competition at Olympic Stadium. The U.S. heads into the final event, the men’s and women’s marathon T54, on Sunday with a total of 40 medals: 16 gold, 14 silver and 10 bronze.

Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland) left her mark on the track with a final victory, storming to her fourth gold medal in the women’s 800 T54. The five-time Paralympian was dominant from the start, leading the pack through the finish line to clock a Paralympic record time of 1:44.73 over China’s Wenjun Liu and Yingjie Li in second and third, respectively. Team USA’s Amanda McGrory (Savoy, Illinois) barely missed the podium with one-hundredth of a second separating her from bronze.

“It’s been an amazing Games so far,” McFadden said. “I couldn’t be more proud of myself. Just from start to finish, it’s been so strong here on the track, and tomorrow I finish on the road; it’s going to be tough and it’ll be fast tomorrow but I’m really, really excited.”

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McFadden will seek her first Paralympic marathon title and 16th career track & field medal on Sunday morning at Fort Copacabana for the conclusion of competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. She goes into the race as the favorite with an unprecedented three-consecutive marathon grand slams—Boston, London, Chicago and New York—on her resume, but will face stiff competition, including from U.S. teammate and defending Paralympic champion Shirley Reilly (Tucson, Arizona). 

Kerry Morgan (St. Louis, Missouri) secured her second medal of the Games with silver in the women’s 100 T52 with a time of 19.96. A bronze medalist in this event at the 2012 Paralympic Games, Morgan upgraded in hardware color after winning bronze in the 400 one week ago.

“My Paralympic experience has been great,” Morgan said. “I’m coming away with two medals, one PR and just put together two really good races. I’m really proud of it and the work I put in really paid off.”

Reilly battled to win bronze in the women’s 800 T53 as she captured her first medal of the Games with a time of 1:47.77. Already a three-time medalist in Rio, Chelsea McClammer (Richland, Washington) came in fifth with a season best time of 1:48.32.

“My goal was to come here and get at least one medal and I just did that,” Reilly said. “I’ve been training very hard for the marathon and if everything goes well, I’ll be very happy but if not, I did my job here. I at least wanted one medal—another one would be a bonus.”

Team USA’s first-time Paralympians also put in top performances on Saturday, including fourth place finishes by Trenten Merrill (San Juan Capistrano, California) in the men’s long jump T44, Marine Corps veteran Michael Wishnia (Livingston, New Jersey) in the men’s shot put F57 and a fifth place result from Scout Bassett (Harbor Springs, Michigan) in the women’s 100 T42.

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