RIO DE JANEIRO — The excitement of the 2016 Paralympic Games culminated on the streets of Rio de Janeiro on Sunday with a thrilling photo finish in the women’s marathon T54 as Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland) secured silver alongside U.S. teammate Amanda McGrory (Savoy, Illinois) with bronze. The U.S. finished with 42 medals in Rio, an increase of 14 from the London 2012 Games, with 16 gold, 15 silver and 11 bronze.
Amid rising temperatures into the mid-80’s, it was a sprint to the finish after 26.2 miles as McFadden and China’s Lihong Zou crossed the finish line at the same Paralympic record time of 1:38.44. In the photo review, Zou’s front wheel edged McFadden’s to steal the gold.
“We pulled a majority of the marathon so I’m really happy to come away with a silver,” the 16-time Paralympic track & field medalist said. “I’ve worked really, really hard and it’s a great way to end the Games.”
McFadden, who tied for the most medals won by a U.S. athlete in Rio with swimmer Jessica Long, raced to her sixth medal—four gold and two silver—of the Games with the beautiful backdrop of Copacabana beach as McGrory picked up her third—two silver, one bronze—in Rio.
“It’s been phenomenal,” McFadden said. “In London, I didn’t medal in the marathon because I had technical difficulties but here, it was great to come home with a silver.”
Three-time Paralympian McGrory was thrilled with her medal haul in Rio, matching her takeaway from the 2008 Games.
“I came out of the London Games really disappointed that I didn’t come home with a medal so I’ve spent the past four years preparing for this,” McGrory said. “I could not be happier with the result and today’s race. I couldn’t be happier with the whole week.”
Shirley Reilly (Tucson, Arizona) finished fifth while Susannah Scaroni (Urbana, Illinois) took seventh. Chelsea McClammer (Richland, Washington) did not finish the race.
In the men’s marathon T54, Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minnesota) was the only U.S. finisher in the event, grabbing the tenth spot with a time of 1:30:13. Josh George (Herndon, Virginia) and James Senbeta (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) both dropped out just over midway in the race.
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