Shawn Morelli Takes Home a Paralympic Gold

September 13, 2016 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

It took one day for a Penn State alumna to win a gold medal at the 2016 Paralympics. Shawn Morelli ’98 Behrend, a member of the United States Paralympic Cycling Team, took home the gold in the C4 classification of the 3,000 meter individual pursuit on Thursday. Athletes who compete under the C4 classification suffer from upper or lower limb impairments and low-level neurological impairment.

Morelli, an Army veteran who made her Olympic debut on Thursday at the age of 40, began cycling in 2009 after a tour of duty in Afghanistan. While serving as an engineer officer in 2007, Morelli suffered neck and nerve damage, brain trauma, and blindness in her left eye due to an IED explosion.

The gold medal came somewhat comfortably for Morelli, as her time of 3:59.407 was more than five seconds faster than her closest competitor. It was just below the world record time of 3:55.006—which Morelli set earlier this year.

UPDATE: Morelli won her second gold medal on Wednesday, as she came in first place in the road cycling time trial C4 classification. Her time of 29:45.40 was 30.32 seconds faster than the competitor who won the silver.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

Entry filed under: Alumni, Athletics. Tags: , , .

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