Dame Sarah Storey has become Great Britain’s most successful ever female Paralympian, winning the 12th gold medal of her career to overhaul wheelchair athlete Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson.
Storey successfully defended her C5 3,000 metre individual pursuit title from London 2012 in the final against fellow Briton Crystal Lane.
Already the most decorated British Paralympian in terms of total medals won – she has 8 silver and 3 bronze medals in addition to her 12 gold ones, for a total of 23 – Storey has three more titles to defend in Rio, two of them on the road.
It’s the 38-year-old’s seventh participation in the Paralympic Games, her debut coming at Barcelona in 1992 as a swimmer.
She competed in swimming until switching to cycling ahead of Beijing 2008, winning five gold medals, and it was her performances there that inspired the 30-year-old Lane, her opponent in tonight’s final, to take up the sport herself.
Storey, who had broken her own world record in qualification earlier today, had a storming start that put her inside that pace and clinched gold after overtaking Lane at 1,250 metres, a lap under half-distance.
Afterwards, she told Channel 4: "It's a bit surreal. The first person I was speaking to after the race was Tanni and it’s so nice to see her here. She’ll always be on a pedestal for me, a lady who has really supported me for all my career."
She said that as a youngster, "I dreamed of pulling on a tracksuit and being able to compete for my country and doing the very best I could and over the course of the last 24 years since that first Games, that lead to these medals. It’s just so surreal.
"I didn’t expect to break the world record this morning, this coming week is really really hard. I just keep improving and I can’t really believe it."
Only swimmer Mike Kenny, who competed in four Paralympic Games between 1976 and 1988, has won more golds than Storey, with 16.
Earlier in the evening, Megan Giglia had secured Paralympic GB’s first medal of the Games when she won the C1-3 3,000 metre pursuit, catching the American rider Jamie Whitmore with 1,250 metres still remaining.
The evening at the velodrome was rounded off with a third gold medal out of the three events Paralympics GB had cyclists in, as Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby won the men's B 4,000m individual pursuit.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.