The Inspiring Journey Of This Disabled Army Veteran Who Went On To Win Team USA’s First Medal of Tokyo Paralympics 2020

Published 08/25/2021, 2:15 PM EDT


The American Paralympian, Shawn Morelli, fetches the very first medal for Team USA at Tokyo Paralympics. Not only this but she also opens up about her journey of how she became a champion.

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Shawn Morelli is an American Paralympic athlete, pursuing road and track cycling. She clinched a gold medal in the Summer Games held in Rio, in the year 2016. Making her second Paralympic appearance this year, the cyclist has already secured a silver medal in the women’s pursuit C4. C4 is a para-cycling classification which includes people with lower-limb impairments or issues with lower-limb functionality.

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A true journey of inspiration- Shawn Morelli

When the Paralympian made her debut 5 years ago, she coincidentally won the first gold medal in the tournament on the very first day. Even though another Paralympian, Lex Gillette had already won silver, Shawn’s was the first gold. Back in 2016, she won a gold in 2 of the three events she participated in. She also set the then meet record of 3:57.741.

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Her journey of reaching where she is today is indeed heart-warming. She was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant in 1996. Furthermore, she served as an engineer officer in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2007, she got a severe injury in her spine and neck due to a roadside bomb explosion. Unfortunately, leaving her with no vision in her left eye. Not one to give up, the American continued to pursue her passion for sports and began cycling competitively in 2010. Ever since, she has managed to successfully win 16 world championship medals across road and track cycling, including 12 golds.

Results of the C4 event

Australia’s Emily Petricola broke her own world record with a timing of 3:38.061. She grabbed the gold and the American, Shawn Morelli won the silver. Lastly, the Canadian Keely Shaw was merited with the bronze medal

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For as long as the Paralympics continue, we can look forward to such enthralling action and inspiring stories.

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Divya Chaturvedi

95 articles

Divya Chaturvedi is an Olympic Athletics author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing her Under Graduate degree in Psychology from the University of Delhi. She's also an internationally recognized athlete, specializing in Shot Put and Discus, representing India at the International Children's Games held in Australia has been one of the biggest feats in her endeavor so far. Having participated in The Road to Wimbledon and representing the state several times, she bagged a number of titles for the same.

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