Top 13 of 2013: Ray Martin wins fifth world title

By Jamie M. Blanchard | Dec. 23, 2013, 10 a.m. (ET)
Raymond MartinRaymond Martin won five gold medals at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France.

Raymond Martin earned a place in the history books on July 27 as he became the first man to win five individual world titles, winning the men's 400 meters T52 with a time of 59.85, a championship record, at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Athletic World Championships in Lyon, France. At 19 years old, Martin, who won four events at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, has never been defeated in a major international competition.

Ray Martin
Ray Martin in Lyon, France, with his first ever world championship gold medal.

"The IPC added the 1,500 to my classification and I decided to take on a full program like I did for London and it paid off," Martin said after his final victory in Lyon. "I came in confident and knew it would be tough. It definitely was not easy. I knew my training would put me to where I wanted to be."

He took home gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m.

"It was a calming feeling," he said of winning all five races. "I was excited that I won, but in London it was different, one because it was the Games; it’s just so monumentally bigger just in terms of the crowd and how they sold it in London.

"France was more downscaled, but it was still a high-caliber event. Everyone was looking at me this time around. I had the target on my back, and it was definitely different."

In October, Martin was recognized as the United States Olympic Committee’s SportsMan of the Year for the second consecutive year. He was also voted the USOC Male Athlete of the Month for July 2013.

Here’s a look at his world championship run:

July 20

Competition opened at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships with Martin and Steven Toyoji (Campbell, Calif.) winning the gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the men's 1500 meter T51/52 final. Finishing with a personal best 3:51.28, Martin claimed his first world title.

"I felt confident," Martin said. "I felt good. I knew coming in that I didn't have the fastest seed time so it was going to be a tough race, which it was. Thankfully, it came out well in the end."

July 21

Martin won his second title of the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, beating out Mexico's Leonardo Perez and U.S. teammate Toyoji with a world championship best 1:59.52 in the men's 800m T52.

July 23

Martin had a scare in his pursuit of the 100m T52 title, catching Mexico’s Salvador Hernandez in the closing stages of the race after Hernandez sped out the blocks first.

"I feel really relieved," Martin said. "The 100 is my toughest one. It was really, really close so I am just glad that I was able to come out on top."

July 25

In the 200m, an event where he holds the world record, Martin raced a championship best 31.48.

"This race went really well, this event is my favorite," Martin said. "I perfectly get off the blocks and after 90m I knew I would win. I was feeling confident before the race now it is one more to go so I have to refocus and I am looking forward for tomorrow. I wish I could go for the marathon and hopefully the IPC will bring it back but for now I will do anything they offer me."

July 27

A championship record time of 59.85 gave Martin the victory in the men's 400 meters T52, his final event  in Lyon. He was followed by Americans Gianfranco Iannotta of Garfield, N.J. (1:03.03) and Toyoji. (1:03.53), but Iannotta was later disqualified, preventing an American sweep. 

― Justin A. Rice contributed to this report