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.”