The Paralympics recently concluded after two weeks of sport, and across multiple events Team GB seemed to find success. GB won 147 medals in total, which meant the team surpassed the medal tally from London 2012, and recorded their third best ever result at a Paralympics. Additionally, Britain concluded the games in second position in the overall medal table, with the 64 gold medals seemingly acting as a contributing factor to this elevated position. Britain won medals in a range of sports, from wheelchair basketball to fencing, and, in the case of certain athletes including Kadeena Cox, medals were won in two different disciplines. With multiple medallists returning to Britain as champions, the Paralympians’ performance may contribute to an increase in funding in disability sport, which may be beneficial for the team, and future Paralympians.
Whilst many athletes won medals in Rio, there seemed to be a handful of athletes who performed exemplary, most notably Hannah Cockroft and Sarah Storey. Cockroft, competing in the T34 category, won three gold medals in the 100m, 800m and 400m, setting a world record time in the latter event. With these three golds, Cockroft added to the success she achieved in London and, as she is 24, may be able to maintain form and fitness to compete, and win, in 2020. With Cockroft one of five GB Paralympians winning three gold medals at the games, it may suggest GB athletes are amongst the best in the world.
Sarah Storey, simarly to Cockroft, won three gold medals in Rio, and this enabled her to become the eleventh most successful Paralympian of all-time, with 25 medals recorded. Storey began her Paralympics career as a swimmer, winning two golds, three silvers and a bronze as a 14 year old in Barcelona 1992. She seemed to continue to find success in this event, before switching to cycling in 2005, and in London 2012 she won gold in all four of her events, before adding more in Rio. By having vast success across multiple events, Storey may be considered as one of Britain’s greatest Paralympians due to her adaptability, and if she competes in Tokyo she may add to her medal total, which may contribute to her rising into the top 10 most successful Paralympians in history.
Lee Pearson, an experienced Paralympian in equestrian, was chosen as the flag bearer for GB in the opening ceremony. This may have added further pressure on Pearson to perform at a high standard, as he seemed to be handpicked by the GB team to lead them to potential glory. Pearson seemed to take the pressure in his stride, adding to his smorgasbord of medals with a silver in the individual event. Johnny Peacock, who seemed to be amongst the poster boys for London 2012, successfully defended his T44 100m gold medal, winning in a time of 10.81 seconds, whilst Ellie Simmonds, world record holder for the 400m freestyle amongst others, successfully retained her gold medal in swimming. With GB winning medals across a wide range of varying events, the team may contain accomplished athletes in all areas of the sport. Additionally, the success the team seemed to achieve may act as a catalyst to continue their success in future Paralympics, whilst simultaneously leading to an increase of crowds for Paralympians, which may be beneficial as it may enable an increase in disabled athletes to compete and achieve in the Paralympics.
With Team GB having exceeded the medal tally recorded at London 2012, winning 9 further golds in Rio, there may be implications that Team GB are continuously improving as a team, and may find further success in the future. Based on a seemingly accomplished showing in Rio, GB athletes may have proved they are able to maintain their form over an extended period of time, and may be contenders to top the medal table in Tokyo 2020. Ultimately, the success in Rio seems to be beneficial for the team, as the best ever Paralympics result since 1988, may contribute to an increase in recognition for Paralympians and their achievements, a factor which may motivate the athletes further to achieve for themselves and their country.
Which athletes may win gold medals in Tokyo 2020?