U.S. Paralympics Cyc... Features 5 Things To Know Bef...

5 Things To Know Before The Tokyo Paralympic Games

By Sheridan Powell | Aug. 24, 2020, 1:51 p.m. (ET)

The Men's Mixed Team Relay poses with their silver medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. 

Cycling had the third highest number of medals contested at the 2016 Paralympic Games, behind only athletics and swimming. More than 230 athletes competed in 18 medal events on the track and 33 medal events on the road. Eager to learn more about Paralympic Cycling? Here are the top five things you need to know heading into the Tokyo Paralympic Games. 

1. Types

The Paralympic Cycling competition program includes sprints, individual pursuits, the 1,000m time trial, road races and road time trials for both individuals and teams. 

Road Para cycling made its debut at the 1984 Games and has been contested at every Games since. Track para cycling entered the scene just 12 years later at Atlanta 1996. 

Para cycling athletes compete in events on handcycles, tricycles, bicycles and in tandem with a sighted cycler. 

2. Classifications

The aim of classification in Para athletics is to minimize the impact of impairments on the outcome of competition. In Para cycling there are four categories of classifications: 


There are five sport classes for handcycling, where lower numbers indicate restrictions 
in both upper and lower limbs, and higher numbers indicate restrictions in lower limbs 

Example: Road cyclist William Groulx is paralyzed from the chest down, and competes 
in class H2.


Thereare two sport classes for tricycle athletes. T1 is allocated to athletes with more 
significant coordination impairments, T2 to less significant. 

Example: Two-time Paralympic medalist Jill Waslh competes in class T2 and is 
diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. 


Athletes able to use a standard bicycle compete in classes C1-C5, with lower numbers 
indicating a more severe limitation in lower and/or upper limbs. 

Example: Paralympian Shawn Morelli was injured while deployed in Afghanistan and competes in class C4, where she broke the women’s C4 pursuit world record in 2016. 

Visually Impaired

Cyclists with a vision impairment race in tandem with a sighted cycler in front. 

3. Qualification

Due to the postponement of the Games and the COVID-19 pandemic, team trials were rescheduled. U.S. Paralympic Team Trials will now be held in Minneapolis on June 17-20, 2021. 

4. The Team

Team USA comes off of a dominant showing at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, where they won 13 road medals and five track medals. But many believe this group of individuals is poised to perform even better in Tokyo. Before the postponement of competitions, the team traveled to the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships at the end of January. There two-time Paralympic medalists Shawn Morelli (Meadville, Pennsylvania) and Sam Bosco (Upland, California) added to their collection of medals and continuing their dominant performances. 

5. Things To Watch For

Keep your eye on some first-time Paralympic hopefuls these next few months as they work towards qualifying for the Tokyo Games. Clara Brown (Falmouth, Maine) and Jason Macom (Little Rock, Arkansas) both lead Team USA in medals at the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in January.