Golden cyclists: Win 'hasn't sunken in'
Mon, 03 Sep 2012 12:17p.m.
By Alex O'Hara
New Zealand has added four more medals to its tally at the London Paralympic Games, including two golds at the velodrome and the pool overnight.
That takes the Kiwi team to 11th overall after five days of competition.
Tandem cyclists Phillipa Gray and Laura Thompson celebrated their Olympic win surrounded by family and friends, and with precious metal around their necks.
"It's pretty awesome and it hasn't sunken in yet because it's still too soon," says Gray.
"It's quite a big achievement that we didn't... we kind of hoped we'd do it but now that its actually happened, it's like wow, we did do it."
Just hours earlier, vision-impaired Gray and her pilot Thompson won the women's individual B pursuit, heading off the world champion Irish pair.
They didn't beat their world record qualifying time, but they did enough to get top spot on the podium.
"In the first ride we felt like we had hot legs," says Gray. "It was a dream ride for us, it was perfect. But to back it up less than four hours later was quite a tough call."
It wasn't the only golden moment for the Kiwi team overnight – Northland swimmer Cameron Leslie also claimed gold in the SM4 150 metre individual medley.
Leslie, who has quadruple limb deficiency, defended the title he won in Beijing four years ago with a world record time.
"It's not easy to defend a Paralympic gold medal, and it was the goal from as soon as we left Beijing," he says.
"It was all about defending that gold medal. Going back-to-back, not many New Zealanders have done that."
The medals kept coming in the pool, with Mary Fisher winning silver in the women's S11 100 metre backstroke, and flagbearer Michael Johnson won bronze in the R4 10 metre air rifle standing.
Cyclists Gray and Thompson knew already had their celebrations planned out.
"I'm going to have a burger," laughs Thompson.
But with two more races to go, their medal haul may not be over just yet.
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3/09/2012 3:38:41 p.m.
These people are absolutely fantastic and I do wish we had them on TV. Congrats to all there and congrats again for any medals. Go the Kiwis !!
3/09/2012 12:52:56 p.m.
Gail Young wrote:
Proud to be a Kiwi, these latest medals are richly derserved. What a challenge all the athletes have overcome. The winning is being there the medal the icing on the cake. Well done.
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