Para-cyclist Jamie Whitmore of Elk Grove won a gold medal for the United States at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, when she won the women’s C1-3 road race.
Competing in her first Paralympic Games, Whitmore out-sprinted Sini Zeng of China and Denise Schindler of Germany and crossed the finish line in the 48 kilometer race with a time of 1 hour, 30 minutes and 14 seconds.
“All I kept thinking about was how badly I wanted gold,” Whitmore told reporters. “I put every ounce of myself into it, all the way down to my toes!”
Whitmore also won a silver medal last week in the C1-2-3 3,000-meter individual pursuit at the Velodrome.
A former professional mountain bike and Xterra (off-road triathlon) cyclist, Whitmore in 2008 contracted a rare form of cancer that wrapped around her sciatic nerve, losing the use of most of her left leg as well as her hamstring and glute muscles.
After recovering and starting family, she began competing in para-cycling (road and track) and won nine golds in world championships as well as setting two world records. In 2014, she won an ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.
“This has been a lifelong dream since I was six years old wanting to be an Olympian,” Whitmore said. “I thought my dream had ended and then there is this great thing called the Paralympics, and I got a second chance.”
▪ The U.S. Paralympic men’s goalball team, which includes Joe Hamilton of Sacramento, won the silver medal Friday, losing to Lithuania 14-8 in the finals.