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Paralympic Road Cycling Medalist Anthony Zahn Dies At 45

By Todd Kortemeier | Aug. 12, 2020, 5:37 p.m. (ET)

Anthony Zahn competes at the Paralympic Games London 2012 on Aug. 30, 2012 in London.


Para-cyclist Anthony Zahn, a longtime national team member and bronze medalist at the Paralympic Games Beijing 2008, died Friday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 45.

“Today we mourn the loss of a talented member of our Paralympic family. Anthony’s dedication and passion for cycling was unparalleled as he worked tirelessly to carve out an illustrious 25-year career as an athlete and two-time Paralympian. After retirement, he remained committed to mentoring, coaching and inspiring the next generation of Paralympic athletes. His influence, pursuit of excellence and spirit will be remembered," said Ian Lawless, director of U.S. Paralympics Cycling.

Zahn had a dream as a teenager to ride in the Tour de France, only to find out at 16 that the knee pain he was experiencing was the result of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), a degenerative neuromuscular disorder. The diagnosis didn’t stop Zahn from dreaming. He kept right on cycling and entering races. 

Later in life, Zahn learned about Para-cycling from a fellow competitor. Zahn began his career as a Para-cyclist in 2005 and quickly rose up the ranks. After two years he was a member of the national team and in 2008, he qualified for a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Team.

In Beijing, Zahn scored the bronze medal in the individual time trial LC4 classification. Just as he was preparing for a second Paralympic Games in 2012, Zahn was hit by a car and suffered a concussion, cracked ribs, and other injuries. But just six weeks later, Zahn was in London competing.

Zahn retired from competitive cycling in 2014. A longtime member of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association, Zahn worked as an ambassador for the association while also coaching cyclists of all levels. 

Zahn’s wife, Liz Bernstein, has organized a memorial ride in his honor on his favorite route in Mill Valley, California. The ride is scheduled for September 12, 2020, the 12-year anniversary of Zahn’s medal-winning performance in Beijing.


Todd Kortemeier

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Anthony Zahn