Sportswoman Dame Sarah Storey has made history by becoming Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian after claiming the 17th gold of her dazzling career at Tokyo 2020.
Astonishingly, the 43-year-old cyclist began her medals haul in 1992, when she won six medals – including two gold – at the Games in Barcelona. At the time, she was a swimmer aged 14.
Mother-of-two Storey had matched Mike Kenny’s long-standing British record of 16 golds on Tuesday by winning the C5 cycling time trial at at the Fuji International Speedway. She stands alone after winning the C4-5 road race on Thursday.
The swimmer-turned-cyclist was already more decorated than swimmer Kenny going into her third and final event of the Games owing to a greater haul of medals, which ahead of the race stood at 27 to his 18.
Storey has now won all 12 bike events entered dating back to her Games debut on two wheels in Beijing in 2008.
“I couldn’t have imagined having eight Games, let alone winning medals at every Games, and 17 of those medals being gold,” she said.
“It’s the dream I didn’t have coming true.
“I just wanted to be a British athlete, I wanted to compete for my country for as long as I possibly could, and to still be going strong in Games number eight is truly amazing.
“I never felt a weight on my shoulders. 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.”
And Storey has indicated she is not done just yet – revealing she is considering a family bike ride to the Paris Games in 2024.
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Dame Sarah added that she wants her son Charlie, three, and daughter Louisa, eight, to be able to experience the Paralympics again.
She said: “One of the things I really would love is for Charlie to experience the Games like Louisa did in Rio.
“I really hope we can go there as a family and it would be amazing to do a cycle ride to get to Paris. Paris sounds like a really good idea but we’ll see. I’m not hanging up my racing boots yet.”
As a swimmer in her first Games in 1992, Storey won six medals in total, including two gold. Four years later in Atlanta she bagged a further five medals in the pool, three of them gold.
Sydney 2000 saw Storey secure two silvers and the haul was two silvers and a bronze in Athens four years on, the last time she competed at the Games in the pool.
Switching to the bike in Beijing in 2008, Storey was back on the gold run as she won two of the highest prizes. Four golds were the added to her tally at the home London Games in 2012, and a further three golds were put raound her neck four years later in Rio. Three Tokyo golds complete the record-breaking run.