Nick Mayhugh looks on after running the 400-meter T37 at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Sept. 1, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
TOKYO – First-time Paralympians Nick Mayhugh and Josh Cinnamo brought home two additional medals during the Wednesday morning finals of Para track and field.
Mayhugh ran in the men’s 400-meter T37, his second event of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. He set an American Record with his silver-medal finish in 50.26, just 0.4 ahead of the Russian Paralympic Committee’s Chermen Kobesov. Andrei Vdovin, also from the RPC, won gold in 49.34 and set a new world record.
Today was Mayhugh’s first time running the 400 in an international competition. Earlier in the Games, the 25-year-old broke his world record when he won gold in the 100-meter T37.
“I’m happy with it,” Mayhugh said. “It was my first international competition in the 400. Almost two months ago, my doctor and my coach shut down my 400 training, so I wasn’t able to train for this. Mentally I just wasn’t there. It was really hard on my body, but my doctor said you have to put your mental health first, so I was just focusing on the 100 and the 200. To come out here and run this and win silver, it feels really great.”
Mayhugh had only been in the track and field world two years before the Paralympic Games. His first love of sport was soccer. He won bronze with the 7-a-side soccer team at the Parapan American Games Lima 2019. Since 7-a-side soccer is not on the Paralympic Games program, Mayhugh channeled his hunger for gold into a new sport.
“When para -7-a-side was cut from the program, it was frustrating, but I tried to be as positive as possible,” Mayhugh said. “Track and field reached out, and I dedicated everything emotionally, physically and mentally to track and field. To completely learn it and to be here and to already have won two medals, it feels pretty good.”
The American’s quick rise to success in track and field would not be possible without his support system back home. He repeatedly thanked everyone who has been a part of his journey.
“I still have two more events, but all I can say is thank you,” Mayhugh said. “My close-knit circle is very loyal and very small. They push me every single day to get up and do the stuff I don’t want to do. They’re supporting. I’m my own hardest critic, and when I tell myself I can’t do something, they’re right there to tell me that I can.”
With a silver medal around his neck, Mayhugh said the job isn’t done yet. He’s focused on the 200-meters and the 4x100-meter relay coming up later this week.
“I know what I’m capable of,” Mayhugh said. “I know I can come here and medal in every single one of the events I’m running in. I want to bring home as many golds as possible.”