Sprinter Cheri Madsen wins third 100m Paralympic medal – 25 years after her first

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 8
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Cheri Madsen earned the bronze medal in the women’s 100m T54 on Wednesday at what she says will be her final Paralympic Games – though she’s said that before.

Madsen, who turns 45 later this month, now owns nine Paralympic medals spread over 25 years, with a 13-year retirement included there.

“It feels really good, I’ve worked really hard,” Madsen told media of her Tokyo performance. “Winning this medal, to me this’ll mean that every Paralympics I’ve ever been to I’ve medaled. I’m very happy that I was able to pull that off.”

A member of the Omaha tribe, Madsen has been paralyzed since age 3 when her body was attacked by an unknown virus. She took up wheelchair racing in 1994 and made her Paralympic debut in Atlanta two years later.

Then 19, Madsen medaled in all four of her races with silver in the 100 and 200, and bronze in the 400 and 800. She also earned bronze in an Olympic exhibition 800m that year.

Her first Paralympic golds came at the Sydney 2000 Games in the 100 and 400; she also took silver in the 200 and was fourth in the 800. Madsen retired at 24 years old to start a family.

Now a mother of two daughters, she returned to competition in 2013 as a way to honor the memory of her father and brother, who died in a 2007 car accident.

Neither age nor time off slowed her down. Madsen has since won seven medals at the past four world championships, plus 200m silver at the Rio Paralympics.

She was second in her 100m heat Wednesday morning in Tokyo in 16.60 seconds, then ran a season’s best 16.33 seconds in the final to take bronze.

China’s Zhou Zhaoqian won in 15.90 for her second gold of the meet. Finland’s Amanda Kotaja took silver in 15.93. American Hannah Dederick was fourth, 0.03 seconds behind Madsen.

“I’m just trying to give it all that I can for my last Games,” Madsen said. “This is it.”

Her final Paralympic race will be Thursday’s 400m T54.

Three other Americans medaled in Wednesday’s track and field competition.

Nick Mayhugh, who had won the 100m T37 in world-record time, took silver in the 400m T37 – the first international race of his career at that distance. He set an American record of 50.26 seconds, behind Russian Andrei Vdovin, who won in a world record 49.34.

Trenten Merrill also set an American record, placing third in the long jump T64 at 7.08 meters.

Reigning world champion Josh Cinnamo took bronze in the shot put F46 at his Paralympic debut with a season’s best throw of 15.90 meters.

A full Paralympic Games broadcast schedule is available here. Events can also be streamed on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, with more info available here.

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Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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Kaillie Humphries begins trek to 2026 Winter Olympics with monobob World Cup win

Kaillie Humphries
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Kaillie Humphries is off to a strong start to a four-year cycle that she hopes ends with her breaking the record as the oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

Humphries, the women’s record holder with three Olympic bobsled titles, earned her first World Cup victory since February’s Winter Games, taking a monobob in Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Humphries, the first Olympic monobob champion, prevailed by .31 of a second over German Lisa Buckwitz combining times from two runs at the 2002 Olympic track.

Humphries has said since February’s Olympics that she planned to take time off in this four-year cycle to start a family, then return in time for the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games. Humphries, who can become the first female Olympic bobsledder in her 40s, shared her experiences with IVF in the offseason on her social media.

“We’ve pushed pause so that I could go and compete this season, maintain my world ranking to be able to still work towards my 2026 goals, and we’ll go back in March to do the implantation of the embryos that we did retrieve,” she said, according to TeamUSA.org.

The next Games come 20 years after her first Olympic experience in Italy, which was a sad one. Humphries, then a bobsled push athlete, was part of the Canadian delegation at the 2006 Torino Games, marched at the Opening Ceremony and had her parents flown in to cheer her on.

But four days before the competition, Humphries learned she was not chosen for either of the two Canadian push athlete spots. She vowed on the flight home to put her future Olympic destiny in her own hands by becoming a driver.

She has since become the greatest female driver in history — Olympic golds in 2010, 2014 and 2022, plus five world championships.

Her longtime rival, five-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, plans to return to competition from her second childbirth later in this Olympic cycle and can also break the record of oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

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