Tokyo Paralympics: How Sarah Storey made Team GB history with record 17th gold medal

Team GB's Sarah Storey

History has been made in Tokyo and Great Britain now has a new record-holder on the Paralympic throne.

Dame Sarah Storey has smashed Britain's record by winning her 17th gold medal at the Games, becoming Team GB's most successful Paralympic athlete.

Here's how the 43-year-old defended her C4-5 title from Rio and wrote her name in the history books.

Who is Sarah Storey?

British icon Sarah Storey is a decorated Paralympic cyclist and former swimmer. She made her debut at the Games when she was just 14 years old and took home gold medals in the 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley, as well as four silvers and a bronze. 

After winning 13 medals as a Paralympic swimmer, Storey ventured down a new avenue and represented Team GB cycling for the first time at Beijing 2008.

She marked another debut in style by securing two gold medals that year before collecting a combined seven golds across the 2012 and 2016 Games.

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How did Sarah Storey make history for Team GB?

Storey took the crown in the women's C4-5 road race final, finishing seven seconds ahead of compatriot Crystal Lane-Wright. Her victory at the rain-soaked Fuji International Speedway is her third of the Tokyo Games, having also scooped gold in the individual pursuit and time trial events.

Despite trailing in the race to Germany's Kerstin Brachtendorf, both Storey and Lane-Wright found a burst of pace to close the gap and mirror the men's British one-two result.

"I'm a bit overwhelmed, I feel like it's happening to someone else," Storey told Channel 4. "I can't really explain or compute anything about the race, but crossing the line first felt so good."

Team GB's Sarah Storey

Britain's most successful Paralympian

Thanks to her three gold medals in Tokyo, Storey has leapfrogged to the top of the all-time Paralympic champions table for her country.

The cyclist has an astonishing 28 accolades to her name from a Paralympics career that started in 1992. With 17 gold, eight silver, and three bronze medals, Storey has smashed former record holder Mike Kenny's tally of 16 gold and two silver.

Storey has also broken three world records during her years at the Games – setting new margins and beating her own times in the 3000m individual pursuit at Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016.

Team GB's Sarah Storey

What next for Sarah Storey?

Storey has appeared at eight Paralympic Games and despite being 43 years of age, has no plans of slowing down.

"I’m a spring chicken," she joked during an interview with i News. "There’s a guy here that was a swimmer the same time as me and he’s 64, Heinz Frei won a cycling medal at 63 too.

“It’s a family decision but we’ve talked about Paris. I’d love to have a big ride from London to Paris, towing my bags behind me to the Games.

“We’ve got the Commonwealth Games next year and the World Championships in Glasgow in 2023, then there’s just a year to Paris."

Age is clearly no factor when it comes to Storey's unbelievable Paralympic career. Should she compete in Paris, she'll no doubt do everything she can to continue her legacy and add to her record gold medal tally.

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