Grace Norman, the first paratriathlete to win a gold medal in Paralympic Games history, claimed her second straight world title Friday by winning the women’s PTS5 gold medal during the 2017 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Norman, who lives in Jamestown, Ohio, led a parade of seven Team USA athletes to the podium, including silver medalists Mark Barr (men’s PTS2), Aaron Scheidies (men’s PTVI) and 2016 Paralympic Games champion Allysa Seely (women’s PTS2). Bronze medalists were Patricia Collins (women’s PTS4), Jamie Brown (men’s PTS4) and two-time Paralympian Chris Hammer (men’s PTS5).
Norman, who won the gold medal at Paralympic Games Rio 2016 and also competed in para track and field in Rio, edged Great Britain’s Lauren Steadman by just 4 seconds overall with a winning time of 1:09:49. Norman, 19, was first out of the water, second after the bike and won during the run in the sprint triathlon, contested by a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike segment, and a 5-kilometer run.
Barr, a 31-year-old registered nurse from Houston, finished runner-up to 2016 Paralympic champion Andrew Lewis of Great Britain, but put pressure on the returning world champion by coming first out of the water in the Maas river’s 750-meter swim.
Barr, a three-time Paralympian who earned two fourth-place finishes at Paralympic Games Athens 2004 as a swimmer, competed as a swimmer in 2008 in Beijing, and as a triathlete for the first time at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, which was the Paralympic debut of the sport.
In the PTVI classification for athletes with total or partial visual impairment, Scheidies staged a strong run to finish second by just 12 seconds behind Great Britain’s Dave Ellis.
Scheidies owns back-to-back national titles in 2016 and 2017. A doctor of physical therapy from Seattle, Scheidies is a seven-time world champion and eight-time national champion. He also competed in cycling at the 2016 Paralympic Games.
Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.