Gold for Greco…and a World Record too!
On Day 1 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, SASI para-cyclist Paige Greco has claimed Australia’s first medal of the Games, winning gold in the Women’s C1-3 3000m Individual Pursuit.
Greco also smashed her own World Record she set in her qualifying race a couple of hours earlier, crossing the line in 3:50.815 minutes to beat China's Wang Xiaomei in the final.
“I’m so happy, I just can’t believe it,” Greco said after the race.
Going into her first Paralympics, the 24-year-old described the 3000m Individual Track Pursuit as her favourite event.
“It’s really hard and fast for a short amount of time which I love.”
While Greco began her sporting career in para-athletics, she switched to cycling in 2018 after she attended a Talent Search program and tests found she would be well suited to competing on the bike.
“Once I finished athletics and felt I had accomplished what I wanted, I tried cycling and really enjoyed it.”
To further progress her sporting career, she made the decision to move from Melbourne to Adelaide.
“I thought that Adelaide would be the best place for my training.
“The support staff here are really good, and I thought the training environment would be well suited for me - and it has been.
“SASI have been really supportive from when I moved to Adelaide, and I am grateful for what they have given and supported me with.
“The coaching and staff, like my Gym Coach and Sports Physiologist, have all been really amazing and keep coming up with new ways to push me on the bike.”
In the lead up to Tokyo, Greco was training around 17 hours a week and spending a lot of time in the SASI lab.
“I was on the treadmill a lot which is really good because we can manipulate the speed and my power which really benefits me with my cerebral palsy,” Greco said.
“It helps me get more stability on the bike.
“We have also been doing work in the heat chamber, getting used to the conditions in Tokyo which will be hot and humid.”
SASI Sports Physiologist Dr Jamie Stanley was working with Greco in the lead up to the Games and predicted her record-breaking performance in Tokyo.
“Paige broke an unofficial record in training a few months ago so I’m sure we will see plenty more record-breaking from her in Tokyo,” said Stanley prior to the Games.
Greco has had a journey like no other becoming a Paralympian, but it has all led to this moment.
“I’ve had a lot of career highlights and also a few setbacks off the bike,” the SASI athlete explained.
“But I think all of it has helped me prepare and ready myself for the Tokyo Paralympics.”
The SASI athlete will also be competing in the Women’s C1-3 Road Race and the C1-3 Time Trial where she will be looking to add to her medal collection.