Paralympic Games (Day 4 Women): Jessica Long Four-Peats in 200 IM; Aurelie Rivard Shreds World Record


Paralympic Games (Day 4 Women): Jessica Long Four-Peats in 200 IM; Aurelie Rivard Shreds World Record

Flash back to the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. There, Jessica Long captured the first gold medal of her career. On Saturday, the American star added to her collection when she won the SM8 200-meter individual medley at the Paralympics in Tokyo. It was the 25th medal of Long’s career, and the 14th of the golden variety.

The United States star won the event for the fourth straight Paralympics, complementing prior victories in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Long, who is the subject of a heartwarming Toyota commercial documenting her life, easily bested the field in her latest triumph. She touched the wall in 2:41.49, which was six seconds faster than the 2:47.86 of Italy’s Xenia Palazzo. The bronze medal went to Mariia Pavlova of Russia, who checked in at 2:48.63.

“I’m over the moon. I’m just so happy,” Long said. “To have a four-peat in the 200 IM, that’s what I’ve been dreaming of coming into these Games. I’m really proud of myself. I moved out to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Training Center about a year ago. I made that very big sacrifice to be away from my family and my husband just to have this type of performance and I think it’s paid off. To be able to train at altitude, swim long course and to be around an amazing group of people, I’m just really thankful.”

Canada’s Aurelie Rivard dominated the S10 100 freestyle. After setting a world record during the preliminaries, Rivard took her mark down even further when she stopped the clock in 58.14. Rivard finished more than two seconds clear of silver medalist Chantalle Zijderveld, who was timed in 1:00.23.

“It’s probably one of the greatest swims of my life technically,” Rivard said. “Today is even more special than it should be, winning gold, especially coming from kind of a failure from me on Day 1. I was expecting to win gold (in the 50 free), I’m not going to lie, and I didn’t. So to have been able to go through that and step up and give my best, especially with the year that we’ve had, with absolutely nothing in terms of competitions, it’s almost surreal that this moment is even happening. I just have a lot of emotions going through my head.”

The S11 100 backstroke witnessed a down-to-the-wire battle between Chinese stars Cai Liwen and Wang Xinyi. Both women went under the world record, with Cai edging her countrywoman for the gold medal. Cai touched in 1:13.46, followed by Wang in 1:13.71.

Maisie Summers-Newton of Great Britain was the champion of the SB6 100 breaststroke, behind a time of 1:32.34. China’s Liu Daomin was second, with American Sophia Herzog earning the bronze medal. In the SM4 150 individual medley, China went one-two behind the tandem of Liu Yu and Zhou Yanfei. The Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mereshko was the SB5 100 breaststroke titlist.


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