An inspiration...Darren Hicks wins road cycling gold
SASI para-cyclist Darren Hicks is bringing home a gold medal, securing the fastest time in the Road Cycling Men’s C2 Time Trial at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The 36-year-old took out the top spot on the podium with a time of 34:39.78 and was more than a minute faster than Edwoud Vromant of Belgium who came in second position.
Speaking after his race, Hicks was clearly overcome with emotion thinking about the result.
“I’ve worked so hard for this and I’ve wanted it for so long - I’m just so happy,” Hicks said.
There’s been heartbreak, pain and tears on Hicks’ road to Tokyo.
A horrific motor accident in 2014 left Hicks with severe neck and leg trauma, a fractured left leg, a broken C2 vertebra that required surgical fixation as well as amputation of the right leg.
Three months after his accident, Darren rode a bike for the first time as an amputee with a prosthetic leg. Spending time on a BMX bike in his adolescent years, Hicks decided he wanted to take up para-cycling as a form of release from all the trauma he experienced during this difficult period of his life.
“I used cycling as my way of working through my grief, working through my pain and not taking it out on myself in bad ways.”
SASI para-cycling coach Loz Shaw, began working with Hicks in 2015 and was a major influence in re-establishing Hicks’ love for the sport.
“We got him out and got him enjoying riding a bike again with myself and a group of my mates that were both able-bodied and para-athletes,” Shaw said.
The big difference that Shaw suggested was the idea of riding without a prosthetic leg.
“Five years ago he was still riding with a prosthetic leg and we went, well the only way you’re going to be able to do this is without it.
“As much as he hated me at the time for it, we both persevered and he has absolutely come out on top."
Being a part of Hicks’ Paralympics journey and seeing him stand on top of the podium today was an incredibly proud moment for Shaw.
“I can’t put it into words what it means for me and I definitely can’t describe what it means to him.”
The win comes less than a week after Hicks claimed a silver medal in the C2 3000m Individual Pursuit at the Izu Velodrome and he’ll have another chance to add to his medal collection when he competes in the C1-3 Road Race on Thursday.