Susannah Scaroni of Team United States competes in her women's 1500 meter T54 heat at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on August 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan
Early Sunday, Paralympic gold medalist Susannah Scaroni paid tribute to the late Swiss wheelchair racer Daniela Jutzeler, whose memorial race Scaroni was to participate in later that day.
“I can’t put to words how meaningful this year’s event is for me, nor how much I personally pray I can honor (Jutzeler) while I’m racing,” Scaroni wrote on Instagram. “I just want to say to all of us that each day is a gift. Cherish what you have and those who are near you, and make the most out of every moment.”
Scaroni certainly made the most of the women’s T53/54 5,000-meter race in Nottwil, Switzerland, not only winning but doing so in world-record fashion. Scaroni, who won her Paralympic gold medal in the 5,000 at last summer’s Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, finished in a time of 10:38.46, nearly 30 seconds up on second place. Scaroni also took a win in the 1,500. She again took to Instagram in the aftermath of her record.
“When you hear those two words,” Scaroni wrote. “World Record. This is something I have honestly wanted to achieve for so long, and it happened in the best way I can imagine.”
As Scaroni alluded to in her tribute to Jutzeler, the circumstances of the Swiss racer’s 1994 death are especially meaningful to Scaroni. Jutzeler was killed after being struck by a car while training, an accident similar to the one Scaroni suffered this past September that sidelined her for months. Now fully back and healthy, Scaroni was back in action at April’s Boston Marathon, where she finished second.
Scaroni also performed well throughout the weekend in Nottwil at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix that preceded the Jutzeler Memorial. Scaroni won in Thursday’s 800-meter and took second in Saturday’s 1,500. Among other notable U.S. participants were Tokyo Paralympians Jenna Fesemyer and Yen Hoang, who placed second in the T53 400 in the Jutzeler Memorial.