|Dame Sarah Storey DBE|
Sarah Storey is Great Britain's most decorated female Paralympian in history having won 11 Gold, 8 Silver and 3 Bronze medals across an impressive 6 Paralympic Games. There is also no doubt she is one of the most versatile athlete's in the World having won World and Paralympic Gold medals for her country across two sports [swimming and cycling] and across 12 very different events [6 in the pool and 6 on a bike]. In an international career that has spanned more than 20 years, Sarah Storey [nee Bailey] has a unique and inspiring story, not least because she has also won some of her gold as an able-bodied athlete.
In London 2012, at the biggest Paralympic Games of all time, Sarah topped the medal table for the British team with 4 Gold Medals from 4 events including an impressive World Record in her first event the C5 Women's 3000m Individual Pursuit. Sarah's dominance of her C5 class at the London Games, put her a class above her rivals and further established her as a true heroine of Paralympic Sport. In the build up to her success in London, Sarah rode several professional women's road races and most noteably stood on the podium alongside Marianne Vos, 7 days before she won the Olympic Games Road Race. Sarah is the most highly ranked Paralympic athlete in world sport and missed out on selection for the Great Britain Olympic team due to the strength in depth of talent at British Cycling.
Following the London Games, Sarah gave birth to her first child and subsequently made an impressive comeback winning a stage of the Tour de Bretagne, 4 Para-Cycling World titles, a bronze in the National Time Trial Championships and the able-bodied National Points Race title, all inside the first 15 months after the birth.
Based in south Manchester where she grew up and was first inspired to become an athlete, Sarah lives with her husband Barney and spends much of her time training in Cheshire and the Peak District, or else whizzing round the boards of the Manchester velodrome.
Having competed for the Great Britain Paraswim team from 1992 until 2005, Sarah found her second sport of cycling by accident. Forced out of the water for much of 2005 with a series of ear infections, much of Sarah's conditioning work that year was done on a bike and by the end of that year she had broken the world record for the Paracycling 3,000m Individual Pursuit. The decision to switch into full-time cycling was not an easy one, but since that switch Sarah has built on her solid foundation from the pool to such an extent that it is often forgotten how dominant and versatile she was as a young swimmer.
In 2010 Sarah competed for Team England at the Commonwealth Games, placing 6th in the Women's Indvidual Pursuit [non disabled event] and then in 2011, Sarah was a part of a highly successful Great Britain Team Pursuit Squad who missed the 3,000m World Record by 0.188s as they claimed victory at the Manchester World Cup. Later in 2011 Sarah was again called up to the Great Britain Team Pursuit team where the trio won Gold in the Columbian round of the World Cup.
With her events in the pool ranging from 50m to 400m and her events on a bike ranging from 500m to 130km, it is easy to see why Sarah is such a versatile athlete and her impressive medal haul only confirms this too.
22 Paralympic Medals
11 Paralympic Gold Medals [5 swimming, 6 cycling], 8 Silver Medals [swimming], 3 Bronze Medals [swimming]
During 2012 Sarah and her For VioRed Road Team dominated the British Women's Road Race scene and this led to Sarah being crowned National Road Race series Champion after winning four of a possible six rounds in the series [she only rode in four too!]. Claiming the Cheshire Classic Road Race in April, followed by the Capernwry Road Race in June, the inaugural Curlew Cup in July and the Essex Giro in August, Sarah proved unbeatable and cemented herself and her team as the UK's best in 2012.
2014 saw Sarah and Barney launch their own women's cycling team riding in aid of Boot Out Breast Cancer. The team, Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International, dominated the UK domestic racing scene in their first season and are set to ride in 2015 with an even stronger line up. Visit www.bobccycleteam.com for more information.