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Liza Corso Surprises With A Silver At Her First Paralympics In The Women’s 1500M

By Lisa Costantini | Aug. 28, 2021, 10:02 a.m. (ET)

Elizabeth Corso competes in the T13 1,500-meter final on Aug. 28, 2021 in Tokyo.


TOKYO — Liza Corso shocked even herself when she crossed the line in second at tonight’s 1500m T13 final. It was her first Paralympic Games and the first time she had ever run in both a prelim and a final all in one day. 

But you wouldn’t have known from watching her. Due to the newness of competing in back-to-back races, she said her legs were “a little tired going into it.” 

The “it” she was referring to? The Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, and the first significant race the young runner had ever competed in.

Coming off the line in the evening session, the 18-year-old American started strong, hanging around fifth. It wasn’t until the last lap when she turned on the power.

Tunisia’s Somaya Bousaid, who was the reigning Paralympic champion, was also in the mix. After getting clipped early on in the race, she clung to a top finish, grabbing the bronze medal with a time of 4:31.78.

Another newcomer finished in front of the pack, running a time of 4:23.24, two seconds off the Paralympic record (4:21.25). Twenty-one-year-old Tigist Menigstu from Ethiopia took home the gold.

But Corso’s second-place finish was a new personal best (4:30.67), shaving almost 15 seconds off her time and dropping more than 20 seconds off her strong semi run where she finished in fourth. 

Watching the race from high in the stands was Corso’s mom, Daphne, who accompanied her daughter to Tokyo due to the Para track star’s young age.

“We are so incredibly proud of Liza!” she said after watching her only daughter accept her new silver necklace. 

As the youngest to two brothers, Liza, she said, can best be described as “disciplined and determined. It is wonderful to see all her hard work pay off at this level of competition.”

Elizabeth Corso competes in the T13 1,500-meter final on Aug. 28, 2021 in Tokyo.


The middle-distance track event was the only race for the college freshman, who is legally blind. After joining track and cross-country in the sixth grade, she was competing in able-bodied cross-country races by the time she was in high school — even racing at the state level. 

Her sophomore year in high school at Portsmouth Christian Academy in Dover, NH, she would first start Para athletics.

After returning home, Corso will be starting college in the fall and her first season of Division I college track and field after signing a letter of intent at the end of last year. 

But due to her commitments ahead of Tokyo, the All-State runner would be starting her first semester a tad late. Luckily her silver medal should be sufficient should she need an excuse for her absence. 

Her new college roommate was among the people cheering for her back home. 

“Everyone has been so supportive,” she said. “The amount of love and support that they have poured out. Everyone who couldn’t come that was back at home was so supportive with watch parties. They just really showed their love for me. It’s been amazing.”

Making her way through the mixed zone, the Newmarket, NH native had one message she continued to touch on as she talked to journalists for what would be the first of many times to come. 

“Honestly, this was not an expectation that I had,” she said. “I just wanted to experience my first Games and really learn from it and take that knowledge into collegiate running and into continuing a Paralympic career. Sorry, it just feels amazing,” she said; with an unmistakable smile spread across her face despite the mask blocking it from sight.

Her time in front of the camera doesn’t look like it will be stopping anytime soon. In addition to running cross-country — which she got into at an early age, accompanying her family on 5K races as early as 5 — she recently started cross-country skiing for the Para-Nordic program. 

Would she be setting her sights on Beijing 2022 and a run at a Paralympic medal in a winter sport, too?

“At the moment, I’m really just focusing on my freshman year of college and getting into college running,” she said. “So I want to say not right now, but definitely in the future. Maybe 2026? You never know.”

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020? Visit TeamUSA.org/Tokyo-2020-Paralympic-Games to view the medal table and results.

Lisa Costantini

Lisa Costantini is a freelance writer based in Orlando. She has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications, and has contributed to TeamUSA.org since 2011.

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