The 2016 Paralympic Summer Games wrapped up on last Sunday with the men’s and women’s T54 marathon road race, taking place on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After covering the 26.2-mile course amidst temperatures in the mid-80s, it came down to a photo finish between American Tatyana McFadden and China’s Lihong Zou.
Zou edged McFadden by a wheel for the win, and both finished in 1:38.44. McFadden, of Clarksville Md., took second for her sixth medal of the Games while her U.S. teammate Amanda McGrory, of Savoy, Ill., crossed one-hundredth of a second behind her for bronze.
“In London, I didn’t medal in the marathon because I had technical difficulties but here, it was great to come home with a silver,” McFadden, who has been competing since the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, Greece, told U.S. Paralympics, according press release. “I’ve worked really, really hard and it’s a great way to end the Games.”
The night before the marathon, McFadden won the women’s T54 800-meter in 1:44.73. China’s Wenjun Liu finished 0.29 seconds behind her for silver, and Yingjie Li, also from China, was 0.5 seconds back in third. McGrory missed the podium in fourth by one-hundredth of a second.
McFadden’s medal count for these Games — four gold and two silver — is tied with U.S. swimmer Jesssica Long and is the most Paralympic medals earned by a U.S. track and field athlete since Bart Dodson won eight gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Games. McFadden has 17 career Paralympic medals, seven of which are gold.
“I have lots of homework,” she told NBC Sports. “I know what I need to do next time. Hopefully a little stronger and smarter. I’m ready for Tokyo .”
Aside from McFadden and McGrory, two other U.S. women competed in the marathon, including Shirley Reilly, of Tucson, Ariz., who finished in fifth (+2.0) and Susannah Scaroni of Urbana, Ill., in seventh (+3.0). Chelsea McClammer, of Richland, Wash., did not finish.
Aaron Pike, a nordic skier from Park Rapids, Minn., placed 10th in the men’s marathon in 1:30.13, and was the only U.S. man to finish. Switzerland’s Marcel Hug won in 1:26.16, edging Australia’s Kurt Fearnley by 0.01 seconds. About 4 seconds after Hug, South Korea’s Dae Gyu Kim placed third.
Americans Josh George, of Herndon, Va., and James Senbeta, of Philadelphia, dropped out around the midway point.
Sept. 17: Women’s T53 800