Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Rio Paralympic Review: Part 1

Unlike the Olympics the Rio Paralympics are much easier to review from an lgbt perspective because there were fewer lgbt athletes to follow. And there’s no better place to start than with the list of those athletes. The table below lists the known openly lgbt Paralympians in Rio with any medals they won. 

NAME
NATION
SPORT
G
S
B
Jen Armbruster
USA
goalball
 
 
1
Monique Burkland
USA
sitting volleyball
1
 
 
Abby Dunkin
USA
wheelchair basketball
1
 
 
Megan Giglia
GB
cycling
1
 
 
David Hill
GB
triathlon
 
 
 
Allison Jones
USA
cycling
 
 
 
Angela Madsen
USA
field athletics
 
 
 
Asya Miller
USA
goalball
 
 
1
Desiree Miller
USA
wheelchair basketball
1
 
 
Marieke Miller
Germany
wheelchair basketball
 
1
 
Cindy Ouellet
Canada
wheelchair basketball
 
 
 
Lee Pearson
GB
equestrian
1
1
 
Moran Samuel
Israel
rowing
 
 
1
Marieke Vervoort
Belgium
wheelchair racing
 
1
1

One other name could have been included. Clare Harvey, a member of Britain’s women’s sitting volleyball team at London 2012, was hoping to compete in Rio. Team GB did not have a women’s team going to Rio so Clare switched her sport to field athletics and the throwing events in particular. In 2015 she qualified for the discus competition in Rio. Unfortunately, just a few weeks before the games she injured her foot and had to withdraw.

The Paralympic opening ceremony included two record breakers carrying their national flags. For the USA Allison Jones and for GB Lee Pearson. Allison Jones was making her 4th appearance in the cycling competition but that’s not the record that is significant. What is, is her additional appearances in 4 Paralympic Winter Games in alpine skiing. These 8 appearances makes Allison the lgbt Paralympian to have competed at the most games, and the only one at both summer and winter games.

Lee Pearson was making his 5th appearance in the equestrian dressage competition. He has won at least one gold medal each time and holds the record of having more gold medals, and the most medals overall, than any other lgbt Paralympian or Olympian. He left Rio with a career total of 10 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze, and he has already made clear his intention of competing in Tokyo in 2020.

The Rio Paralympics started well for Team LGBT. On the first day of competition the first medal they won was a gold. Megan Giglia of GB won the women’s 3 km individual pursuit breaking the Paralympic record and her own world record in the process. The only other lgbt cyclist, the above-mentioned Allison Jones, competed in the same 4 events as Megan but just missed out on a medal. Allison’s highest placing was 4th in the road race.

Also competing on Day 1 was Angela Madsen, at 56 the oldest lgbt Paralympian to compete. She was the Paralympic and world record holder in the F56 shot put category, but she only finished 8th in the combined F56/57 event in Rio. It was, however, with a seasonal best distance. Two days later Angela finished 7th in the F56 javelin event.

Team events began on Day 1 also. In goalball Team LGBT was represented by Jen Armbruster and Asya Miller for the USA. For Jen this was her 7th Paralympics and for Asya her 5th, and the 3rd for both of them as a married couple (yes, the Paralympics beat the Olympics in having the first same-sex married couple). They went into the quarter-finals as 2nd top in their group. After defeating Canada they met Turkey in the semi-finals and were thrashed 11-1. Turkey went on to win gold. Jen and Asya played Brazil for the bronze medal and just won 2-3, with Jen scoring all 3 US goals. Asya was the top scorer for the US in the whole goalball competition.

The wheelchair basketball competition also had a married couple competing – for different teams. Desiree Miller played for the USA and her wife Mareike Miller (née Adermann) played for Germany. Team USA also included Abby Dunkin with Stephanie Wheeler, a 2-time Paralympic goalball champion, as coach. USA and Germany were placed in different groups which meant there was a possibility of Desiree and Mareike Miller playing against each other in the quarter-finals. Both finished top in their groups and reached the quarter-finals.

Also reaching this stage was Team Canada with Cindy Ouellet. They didn’t make it to the semi-finals, losing to the Netherlands, but they won the 5th position play-off against China. Germany and USA both won their quarter-finals. The semi-finals would see the USA face GB and Germany face the Netherlands. The final scores were USA 89 – GB 78, and Germany 55 – Netherlands 45, meaning Desiree and Marieke Miller would play against each other in the gold medal match.

The USA led though most of the final match, though their scoring rate dropped below Germany’s in the last quarter, but their lead was already too great for the Germans to catch up. The final score was Germany 45 – USA 62. With Desiree winning a gold and Marieke winning a silver at least they were both going home with a medal.

Tomorrow I’ll continue this Paralympic review by starting with the competitions that started on Day 2.

1 comment:

  1. For the love of God, will you stop calling these gay and lesbian athletes “lgbt” (sic)? They are gay and lesbian athletes.

    ReplyDelete