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Back And Better Than Ever: 43-Year-Old Cheri Madsen Claims 100-meter Medal At Para Track Worlds

By Karen Price | Nov. 08, 2019, 12:35 p.m. (ET)

Cheri Madsen celebrates at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships on Nov. 8, 2019 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Three-time Paralympian Cheri Madsen had been part of many podium celebrations over the course of her long career, from winning eight Paralympic medals to nabbing six world championships medals.

On Friday, the 43-year-old made it seven with a bronze medal in the women’s 100-meter in the T54 class at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In the last elite international event of its magnitude before the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, Madsen crossed the finish line in 16.42 seconds to bring her grand total in world medals to three silvers and four bronzes. Madsen, who is also planning to compete in the 400-meter on Tuesday, previously won silver in the 100-meter in 2017. 

“This was the fastest I pushed all season,” she said.

Finland’s Amanda Kotaja took gold in 16 seconds flat, and China’s Zhaoqian Zhou won silver in 16.23 seconds. 

The final included three American women in the top seven. Hannah Dederick finished sixth with a time of 16.96 seconds and Hannah McFadden was seventh in 17.14 seconds. 

“(McFadden) is always such a strong competitor, so you never know, she could be right there at any time,” Madsen said. “And Hannah Dederick, like wow, watch out, she’s going to be really fast. She’s a great up and comer.”

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Madsen is one of 63 athletes, including 43 Paralympians, competing in Dubai this week. She brings to the race a long history in the sport, having made her Paralympic debut in Atlanta in 1996. She also competed in the Olympic Games that year in the 800-meter exhibition race. 

After a 13-year retirement, Madsen launched a comeback to make her third Paralympic Games in 2016, marking her first time competing on that stage since the Sydney Games in 2000. Madsen won a silver medal in the 400 in Rio while finishing fifth in the 100.

With yet another world medal already this year, Madsen is poised to not only make another run at the Games in 2020 but also another trip to the podium.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of  Red Line Editorial, Inc. 

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