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Cyclist Ryan Boyle Sets His Sights on Tokyo for Next Shot at Paralympic Gold

By Joshua Clayton | July 23, 2020, 12:20 p.m. (ET)

Ryan Boyle was a silver medalist in the road time trial at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. 

Ryan Boyle was built for this. 

The Paralympic cyclist has been forced to wait a year for his second shot at a gold medal, but he said he’s willing to wait patiently for what has become his new dream.

Ryan was riding a Big Wheel at a friend's birthday party in 2003 when he was hit by a truck, causing him to go into a coma. He went through emergency brain surgery and came out without a portion of the back of his brain. 

Boyle relearned how to breath, talk, eat and walk at age of 10, but that wasn’t enough for him.

“I didn't know what happened to me for a long time because I couldn't speak or anything,” he said. “I knew I was in a hospital. I just thought I was in some kind of dream and eventually I would wake up from it, but that never happened. Once I found out that this was real, then I had to make the decision of what to do.”

That decision was one that has led to a still young, but successful Para-cycling career in the last few years. Boyle devoted himself to a lifelong goal of being an elite athlete.

“For me, there really wasn't much of a decision because I knew how much I loved my childhood and being athletic and I wanted to ride my bike again,” he said. “I decided to really put in the effort to get better in therapy. It was a long road, but luckily it all happened for me.”

Boyle said the first thing he did after recovering from the was join a swim team. He swam on his school team until someone gifted him a high-end road tricycle years later.

“I was introduced to the tricycle. That is when it all started,” he said. “So, I said immediately, I want to be a world champion”

That goal has since become a reality for the boy who was once in the hospital, unable to breathe, talk, eat or walk.

Boyle has earned three gold, two silver and three bronze in five years at the world championships and grabbed a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in the road time trial.

“(Rio was a) really a surreal experience, just taking it all in and knowing that the best athletes from around the world are all there and I'm one of them, he said. “It made me feel extremely grateful. I knew I was representing my country, which very few people ever get the chance to do.”

Now with the life-changing experience of Rio behind him, Boyle’s focus is set on Tokyo. While COVID-19 has pushed the competition to 2021, he said he’s more determined than ever to deliver gold.

Every moment Boyle isn’t not working on his new book or practicing keyboard, he’s getting bigger, faster and stronger for that next opportunity.

“There's always two ways of looking at a situation and of course I was looking forward to having (the Games) happen next month, but that didn't happen,” he said. “So was there a, was there change of plans and it just leaves me another year to get stronger.” 

 

Joshua Clayton

 

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Ryan Boyle