Former Army major Shawn Morelli wins Team USA’s first Paralympic medal at the rescheduled Tokyo Games after winning silver in the individual pursuit C4 – despite being LAPPED with three circuits to go!
- Shawn Morelli got Team USA’s Paralympics up and running with a silver medal
- The 45-year-old had to settle for second place at the rearranged Tokyo Games
- Emily Petricola of Australia dominated in individual pursuit C4 on Wednesday
Shawn Morelli got Team USA’s Paralympics up and running with a silver medal in the individual 3,000m pursuit C4 on Wednesday.
The 45-year-old, who christened her Paralympic debut with gold in Rio in 2016, had to settle for second place at the rearranged Tokyo Games.
World champion Emily Petricola of Australia dominated and lapped Morelli with three circuits remaining.
Shawn Morelli got Team USA’s Paralympics up and running with a silver medal on Wednesday
Emily Petricola of Australia dominated and lapped Morelli with three laps remaining
Morelli stands on the podium after claiming silver in the individual pursuit C4 in Tokyo
Morelli claimed double Paralympic gold in Brazil five years ago after coming out on top in the track pursuit and road time trial.
She will be looking to add to her medal haul in the same events at the Games in Japan.
In the individual 3,000m pursuit C4 Petricola proved too tough as she made it back-to-back gold medals for Australia in a successful spell on the track.
(L-R) Silver medallist Shawn Morelli of Team USA, gold medallist Emily Petricola of Team Australia and bronze medalist Keely Shaw of Team Canada pose during the medal ceremony
Petricola set a new world record during qualifying and won by a comfortable margin in the head-to-head final with Morelli.
Team USA’s Morelli was enlisted as a second lieutenant in the US Army in 1996 and was dispatched to Iraq and Afghanistan to work as an engineer officer.
Fourteen years ago the para-cyclist lost her vision in her left eye, sustained spine and neck damage and suffered brain trauma after a roadside bomb detonated during her time in Afghanistan.
‘On this deployment I was seriously injured and my life was forever changed,’ Morelli told Infocrank as she opened up on the mental and physical battle of her life-altering injuries.
Morelli took up cycling in 2010, was medically retired from the Army in 2012 and by 2014 had won her first world championship medal.
‘I struggled with alcohol which I used to deaden the pain, I was self-destructive and I attempted suicide,’ she added.
‘Cycling has become my path to healing both mentally and physically.’
Morelli, who used to be a football coach, has now won a total of 17 medals following her silver in Japan.
Morelli has now won a total of 17 medals following her silver on the track in Japan