Of all the British Paralympians who excelled in Tokyo – where Team GB finished second behind China in the medals table – the most remarkable has to be Sarah Storey, said Paul MacInnes in The Guardian. Last week, the 43-year-old cyclist became “the most successful British Paralympian of all time” when she earned the 17th gold medal of her career by defending her women’s C4-5 road race title.
Storey, who was born with a malformed left hand, didn’t even start out as a cyclist, said Katie Falkingham on BBC Sport: she was a “14-year-old swimmer” when she made her Paralympic debut 29 years ago. Having won five golds in the pool, she transitioned to cycling in the mid-2000s, because of persistent ear infections.
Storey’s achievements are “off-the-scale extraordinary”, said Jenny Johnston in the Daily Mail. As well as competing in para events, she has represented England in the Commonwealth Games and has won four national track titles in races against all comers. Now a mother of two young children, she was bullied at school and suffered from anorexia as a young woman.
If there’s a “secret” to her success, it’s the “can-do attitude” instilled in her by her parents, who never used the word “disability” when she was growing up. “We never thought in terms of things I couldn’t do,” Storey recalls, “but in terms of finding a solution to how I could do something.”