Sarah Storey is the most successful British Paralympian in history after winning her 17th gold in Tokyo.
The 43-year-old overcame the elements to clinch the women’s C4-5 road race in 2:31.51, her triumph moving her one clear of swimmer Mike Kenny as the outright most decorated British Paralympian.
Crystal Lane-Wright came home seven seconds after her teammate to make it a British one-two, France’s Marie Patouillet rounding out the podium.
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“I just wanted to be a British athlete, I wanted to compete for my country for as long as I possibly could”, Storey told Channel 4.
I couldn’t have imagined having eight Games, let alone winning medals at every Games, and 17 of those medals being gold. It’s the dream I didn’t have, coming true.
Storey had arrived in Tokyo as GB’s most successful Paralympian but had trailed Kenny’s 16-gold haul, won between Toronto 1976 and Seoul 1988, by two.
With eight silvers and three bronzes on top of her golds, Storey had led Kenny for overall medals ahead of Tokyo, but her 17th triumph takes her clear at the summit with an incredible 28 medals.
In winning the road race Storey also ensured the second successive defence of the event, having held the title since London 2012.
“I never felt a weight on my shoulders,” she said.
You’re defending a title and it’s added to a tally afterwards. It’s just each race as it comes. It is the sweetest feeling to know that I go back to my room and there’s a couple of gold medals in the safe to put this one with and that makes that tally very real then.
Storey had fallen behind surprise challenger Kerstin Brachtendorf but fought superbly to hunt the German down and take the lead with a lap to go.
Having similarly finished second to her teammate in the 3000m individual pursuit, Lane-Wright was within sprinting distance of Storey on the closing stretches but decided against attacking on the home straight of the Fuji International Speedway.
“I have some morals,” Lane-Wright said.
“That’s just not the done thing. If I’d done all the work on the front then it’s different but I’ve done no work. I told her it was her race. I also had no legs.”
The 1-2 was swiftly replicated in an incredible morning on the track for Team GB, as Ben Watson took gold ahead of teammate Fin Graham in the men’s road race shortly after Storey and Lane-Wright’s finish.
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Source: Euro Sports