Daniel Romanchuk reacts after winning the bronze medal in the men's marathon T54 at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Sept. 5, 2021 in Tokyo.
At 23 years old, Daniel Romanchuk became the first American man in 21 years to medal in any classification in the Paralympic marathon on Sunday when he won bronze in the men’s T54 race. The Mount Airy, Maryland, native completed the 26.2-mile course in the pouring rain in 1:29:05, adding to the 400-meter gold he already won on the track in Tokyo.
“It’s an amazing end to a great Games,” Romanchuk said. “It’s really hard to sum up the last year and half and these Games, but it’s just incredible to be here.”
Sunday marked the first time since before the pandemic that the majority of the athletes raced a competitive marathon.
Romanchuk, who in the last three years has won the New York City and Chicago marathons twice, in addition to the Boston and London marathons, made the marathon podium in Tokyo despite having to deal with pressure sores this week.
He pulled himself back into contention very late in the race after he had fallen back from the chase pack to finish only behind gold medalist Marcel Hug of Switzerland and silver medalist Yong Zhang of China.
“There are a lot of tactics that go on in marathons, especially when everyone’s looking to place instead of aiming for a time,” he said. "I know my strength is on the uphills, so I knew toward the end of the course there were some hills I was going to try to capitalize on, so I tried to stay calm until then.”
Romanchuk’s marathon medal was the 28th in history for the U.S. across all classifications, more than any other nation has won.
Five-time Paralympian and dual-sport athlete Aaron Pike — the boyfriend of 10-time Paralympic medalist Oksana Masters — finished sixth in 1:29:45, bettering his 10th-place finish from Rio five years ago. Three-time Paralympian Brian Siemann was 15th in 1:44:42.