Paralympics 2020: Who is ParalympicsGB champ Sarah Storey and what disability does she have?

Sarah Storey has already led the UK ParalympicsGB team to a storming success at the Tokyo Paralympic Games 2020 on Wednesday 25 August, but who is the medal-winning cyclist?

Paralympics 2020: Who is ParalympicsGB champ Sarah Storey and what disability does she have? (Image credit: Thomas Lovelock for OIS/PA Wire)

After a year-long delay to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games saw both international sports championships take place in 2021, British athletes are seizing on the chance to get back on the track and make a splash at the Paralympics 2020.

British cyclist Sarah Storey has kickstarted ParalympicsGB’s medal quest at the Tokyo Paralympics as she stormed to first place in the Women’s C5 3000m individual pursuit on Wednesday, before equalling Great Britain’s record for Paralympic gold medals when she won her 16th gold medal with victory in the women's C5 time trial the following Monday.

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Here’s everything you need to know about Storey, her Paralympic successes and her disability.

Who is Sarah Storey?

Sarah Storey, made Dame Sarah Storey in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list following the London 2021 Paralympic Games, is a British cyclist hailing from Manchester.

A former swimmer, Storey turned to cycling in 2005 – swapping out the pool for the velodrome and achieving great success in para cycling events like the C5 3,000m individual pursuit.

The 43-years-old lives in Cheshire, England with her husband, British cyclist Barney Storey, and their two children.

Storey has in the past spoken publicly about the challenges faced in returning to sport after having two children, as well as dealing with issues such as bullying at a young age.

In an interview with Judy Murray on Sky Sports programme Driving Force, Storey said she had a “lonely time” at school as a “walking conversation-stopper” as a result of her sports achievements.

Instances of bullying later developed into an eating disorder, the Paralympic champion told Murray.

"I was painfully thin, and it wasn't a great situation because I didn't really want to eat during the day at school,” Storey said.

"It was probably the only thing I could control during the day was the food intake - I couldn't control the behaviour of the other kids.”

What is Sarah Storey’s disability?

Storey was born with a left hand which did not fully develop after it became entangled with the umbilical cord in the womb.

But the swimmer-turned-cyclist has competed against both disabled and able-bodied athletes at international sports championships over the last two decades. Storey became the first disabled cyclist to compete against able-bodied cyclists at the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi, India.

"At first I worried whether I was really disabled enough to cycle in the Paralympics," Storey told the Guardian in 2010.

"I don't want to be looked on as a fraud.

"It took the coaches a while to convince me about the contribution your upper body makes in cycling, about how you need two hands for the bike handling, not to mention the braking.”

She added: "I am an athlete. That's the first thing I am. All the rest is just circumstantial."

How many Paralympic medals has Sarah Storey won?

Storey claimed her 16th Paralympic medal and in turn equalled Great Britain’s record for Paralympic gold medals on Monday August 30.

As the UK’s most decorated female Paralympian, she has earn her medals across swimming and cycling events since the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, Storey has won a total of 19 cycling gold medals at the Paralympic Games and beyond.

Claiming victory in the Women’s C5 3000m individual pursuit cycling event, Storey was joined on the medal podium by silver medal winner, Crystal Lane-Wright.

Storey’s medal scoop was quickly followed up by another medal-winning performance for ParalympicsGB, as Scottish swimmer Toni Shaw gained a bronze medal in the S9 400m freestyle final.

Shaw also broke a Scottish record and claimed a new personal best with a swim time of 4:39:32 on Wednesday.

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