Track and field Susannah Scaroni wins her first Paralympic medal in the 5,000m

Tatyanna McFadden and Susannah Scaroni celebrates victory in the Women’s 5000m T54 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

TOKYO – Susannah Scaroni has been working for 12 years to become a registered dietitian. The track and field athlete recently accepted an internship at the University of Urbana-Champaign, posting on Instagram: “I am very happy to face so many incredible experiences.

Another new experience she was able to cross off her bucket list on day two of athletics at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games was winning her first Paralympic medal. Saturday’s event marks Scaroni’s third Games and his first time on the podium.

The 30-year-old from Illinois defeated current Games champion, teammate – and six-time Paralympian – Tatyanna McFadden, with a new personal best of 10: 52.57 in the women’s T54 5000m. It was also a new Paralympic record, overtaking McFadden’s time from Rio, which was 11: 47.37.

By competing in the Rio and London Marathon and finishing on the podium, a first place made Scaroni’s gold medal even sweeter.

“I feel so blessed,” she said after catching her breath. “My strength is going as strong as I can for a long time. This never happens at the Paralympic Games and I have no experience in anything else. “

Scaroni crossed the finish line on Saturday morning, putting his competition in his rearview mirror with seven laps to go – never conceding the lead.

“I looked back and no one was there. With seven laps to go it was a huge risk, “she said,” but I knew my strength and took that risk. “

Meanwhile, McFadden stayed behind with the chase pack, moving them in the dying moments to clinch bronze (a new season record: 11: 15.13).

The podium is a familiar spot for McFadden, who has an astonishing 17 medals, including 7 gold.

“I knew if I just hang in the back, watch it all unfold and protect her up there, then everything will be fine,” said McFadden.

Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer, who is the current world record holder, divided the Americans to win the silver medal with a time of 10: 51.17.

Today was not the first time Scaroni crossed the finish line in front of her teammate, but “never at the Paralympics”, she admitted. “This is when people take out everything they have.”

Scaroni – a future RD and worked for the USOPC in the same field – has three other events against McFadden. The two are expected to compete in the 800m, 1,500m and marathon, with McFadden also looking to step onto the 400m podium where she is the reigning gold medalist.

McFadden has struggled with health issues since 2017, but that hasn’t stopped her today.

“It has been five very difficult years for me since the start of 2017 with my health and the diagnosis of a blood clot disorder. I have good days and bad, “she said.” I’m so excited to make the United States team. It’s really tough because it’s so competitive and then to win an 18th Paralympic medal.

Team USA’s Jenna Fesemyer was 30 seconds short of her personal best with her seventh place, crossing the finish line in 11:17.24.

Another athlete doing her best, despite the sweltering heat at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, was Beatriz Hatz, who competed in the women’s T64 long jump.

The 20-year-old Colorado native made his Paralympic debut with a fifth-place finish, scoring 5.43 and setting a new zone record.

Beating her fifth place at the 2019 World Championships in Dubai, where she finished 5.11. She will compete again in the 100m and 200m T64, after placing eighth and fifth at the last world championships.

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games? Visit for the medal table and results.

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