Shawn Morelli Cycles Her Way to Team USA’s First Medal of the Tokyo Paralympics

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On Aug. 25, Team USA cyclist and US army veteran Shawn Morelli won the United States’s first medal of the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Morelli claimed silver in the women’s C4 3000m individual pursuit ahead of bronze medalist Keely Shaw from Canada and behind Australia’s Emily Petricola, who took home gold.

Petricola’s first-place qualifying time of 3:38.061 set a world record, and she ended up lapping Morelli during the finals. Morelli previously set the Paralympic record of 3:57.741 in Rio, where she won two gold medals: one in the road time trial and another in this same track pursuit event. Morelli praised Petricola for her “awesome ride” and said to Teamusa.org, “Now I know what I’ve got to do to get back to her.” She added, “I’m thrilled being able to come out of the pandemic in as great shape as this and to earn a medal.”

Morelli, 45 and a 16-time world championship medalist, wrote on Twitter after her race, “Today was a hard fought day filled with adversity. I am grateful to be able to perform and come home with a Silver. Thank you to all my friends, family, coaches and sponsors.”

Check out photos of Morelli and her fellow C4 3000m individual pursuit medalists ahead.

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