Kadeena Cox on Saturday won gold in the C4/C5 500 metres time-trial to become the first Briton since Isabel Barr (later Newstead) in 1988 to win Paralympic medals in two sports at the same Games.
The 25-year-old from Leeds, also claimed T38 100m bronze on the athletics track on Friday night. Here are a few of the stories behind her stunning successs in Rio.
1 Olympic dream ended
Cox was a talented able-bodied sprinter and had dreams of making the Olympic team in Rio, only to suffer stroke symptoms in May 2014 after competing in Loughborough. Soon after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Little more than a year later she became world champion in the T37 category at the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Doha.
2 Tokyo too far?
The progressive nature of Cox’s illness means Rio might be her one and only opportunity: “As an athlete with MS I don’t know where I’m going to be in four years’ time,” she said. “I might not be able to do one of the sports, let alone two. I thought I’d take the opportunity while I can and try to push boundaries. It gives a lot of hope to a lot of people within the MS world.”
She was reclassified in both cycling and athletics earlier this year. Her cycling reclassification came at March’s Track World Championships and ruled her out of the mixed team sprint with Jody Cundy and Jon-Allan Butterworth. She put the disappointment to one side by winning gold in the C4 500m time-trial in a world record. A subsequent appeal was unsuccessful. Her athletics classification was changed in June following medical tests in Italy. It is common for athletes new to para competition to have their classifications changed.
4 Balancing act across M62
Cox spends a lot of time traversing the Pennines from her home in Leeds to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. On Tuesdays and Saturdays she does para-athletics training in Leeds. On Thursdays and Fridays she does cycling training in Manchester. She trains in the gym on Mondays and has recovery days on Wednesdays and Sundays. British Cycling and British Athletics have been supportive of her plans and worked together to implement them.
Cox claimed bronze behind team-mate Sophie Hahn in the T38 100m on the athletics track on Friday, before competing in the velodrome on Saturday to emulate Barr, who competed in swimming, athletics and shooting at Paralympics, winning 10 gold medals. She claimed discus gold, shot put silver and javelin bronze in Seoul in 1988, plus air pistol bronze. She died in 2007 following illness.