Former Olympian wins silver medal in cycling at Tokyo Paralympics after recovering from life-threatening bike crash
- Team Canada's Kate O'Brien won the silver medal in cycling at the Paralympics.
- O'Brien, 33, made her Paralympic debut this summer after previously competing at the 2016 Olympics.
- ESPN reported that O'Brien survived a life-threatening bike crash in 2017.
Team Canada's Kate O'Brien won a silver medal in cycling at the Tokyo Paralympics just four years after surviving a life-threatening bike crash.
According to the Olympics ' website, O'Brien arrived at the Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka to compete in the Women's C4-5 500-meter Time Trial. The event was the para-cyclist's debut at the Paralympics.
ESPN reported that O'Brien, 33, competed at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics but later experienced a severe crash during a cycling demonstration at an outdoor track in 2017. O'Brien suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs, and a broken clavicle, and was even reportedly told by doctors she might never walk or bike again.
She later underwent rehabilitation, but suffered from seizures during her recovery, ESPN reported. But the media outlet reported that O'Brien was determined to continue the sport and worked with physiotherapists to get her motion back.
O'Brien told CBC in 2020 that her physiotherapists "set her bike up on rollers, pushed it toward a wall and formed a human semi-circle in case she toppled."
O'Brien finished her race in 35.439 seconds after Kadeena Cox of Team Great Britain scored gold during Friday's competition. Caroline Groot of Team Netherlands came in third place for the bronze title.
"I never imagined that I would get to compete in the Paralympic Games," O'Brien wrote in an Instagram caption. "I wouldn't have believed anyone if they told me that I would. I don't do well with change. But, after 33 years on this planet, I am realizing that change is inevitable, and oftentimes, amazing."
Though this is O'Brien's first Paralympic medal, the athlete made history in January 2020 when she represented Team Canada at the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships. She won two titles and broke two world records, ESPN reported.
"It is the first time in a long time that I felt truly happy doing sport, not because of the hardware won, but because of the people and experience," O'Brien wrote in an Instagram post after the competition. "t made me realize that the path isn't always what you think it will be, but you can still get there, and the path can be even better than you thought."
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