Grace Norman competes during the women's PTS5 competition at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 29, 2021 in Tokyo.
Racing in rainy and wet conditions in Yokohama, Japan, Grace Norman and Melissa Stockwell each grabbed wins Saturday to open the 2022 World Triathlon Para Series. The Paralympic medalists joined Kyle Coon and Kelly Worrell in winning their paratriathlon classifications in Yokohama, while Taylor Knibb, Taylor Spivey, Kirsten Kasper and Kevin McDowell each posted top-10 finishes in the World Triathlon Championship Series races.
The paratriathlon included a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.
Norman, one of the sport’s most decorated athletes after winning a gold medal in the paratriathlon’s 2016 Paralympic debut and a silver medal at last summer’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo, kept it up with her second career win in Yokohama.
The native of Jamestown, Ohio, won the women’s PTS5 race in at 1 hour, 2 minutes, 50 seconds.
In the women’s PTS2 event, Stockwell defended her Yokohama title in 1:19:11. The Colorado Springs, Colorado, resident is a three-time Paralympian, first in swimming and then in paratriathlon. She won Paralympic bronze in Rio.
They were joined atop the podium Saturday by Coon, along with his guide Zack Goodman (1:00:10), in the men’s PTVI division for visually impaired athletes, and Worrell (1:25:30) in women’s PTS4. This marked Worrell’s first WPTS race.
Owen Cravens with guide Colin Riley (1:00:38) was second in the men’s PTVI race. Also reaching the podium in paratriathlon was Howie Sanborn (1:06:04), who finished third in men’s PTWC, and Mohamed Lahna (1:12:43), who was third in men’s PTS2.
In the elite triathlons, which were held over the Olympic distance of 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer, the Americans stayed among the contenders but fell just short of the podium.
Olympic silver medalist Georgia Taylor-Brown of Great Britain won the women’s race in 1:51:44, with Knibb (1:53:00) sixth, Spivey (1:54:36) eighth and Kasper (1:55:18) ninth. On the men’s side, McDowell (1:45:02) led the way in 10th, with Matt McElroy (1:45:14) not far behind in 13th. Olympic silver medalist Alex Yee of Great Britain won in 1:43:30.
McDowell and Knibb both competed in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
This weekend marked the first of four Para races in the series, while the WTCS started in the fall of 2021 and continues with six more races through November. The next stop is June 11-12 in Leeds, England.