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Old 09-10-08, 06:10 PM   #1
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52 yr old woman wins gold at Paralympic Games in Beijing

In 1982 at the age of 26, Barbara Buchan (Bend, Ore.) took up cycling and progressed quickly, positioning herself on the short list of women competing for a place on the U.S. National Team. Her life then changed forever during a qualifying race for the World Championships when 21 out of the 80 competitors were caught in a bike pileup on a steep descent. Buchan was the most severely injured. No helmets were used at that time. She spent two months in a coma and had five brain surgeries but she was determined to get back into sport and began to compete in Paralympic track. The longest distance at that time however, was the 1500m and she enjoyed longer distances so after the 1988 Paralympics she switched to cycling. This is her fifth Paralympic Games. She has never won gold until now.

Buchan began the morning competing in the Qualifying round of the Womens Individual Pursuit. She came out strong, so strong in fact she set a new world record in the CP3 class with a time of 4:31.334. Her factored time in the entire division was 4:13.860, enough for a first place finish heading into the finals.

In the finals, Buchan was set to compete against 30-year old Natalie Simanowski (GER). She did not disappoint and posted a final factored time of 4:15.848, four seconds faster than Simanowski. The gold was finally hers, after waiting so long.

I cant believe I did it, said a jubilant Buchan. My accident was so long ago but I am pleased I finally got my gold.

Buchan then jokingly added Im doing all right for an old lady! She went on to explain she believed so much of the competition is mental and that age should not be a factor.
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Old 09-10-08, 09:10 PM   #2
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Wonderful story about an incredible woman. The "mental" part of cycling or any undertaking cannot be overstated. Getting up a tough hill is, more often than not, more mental than physical. This woman's story is very inspirational.
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Old 09-10-08, 09:19 PM   #3
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What an inspirational story!
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-10-08, 10:42 PM   #4
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Unfortunately I remember hearing about Barbara Buchan's crash when it occurred. I decided not to do that race which was in the Santa Monica mountains. Back then we wore helmets like this:

We called them leather hairnets. Someone in my club back in New York died after hitting his head in a race in Washington DC in the mid-1970s. Those helmets were worthless.

I am very glad to hear that she was able to live her dream and win a gold medal. I remember wondering over the years what eventually happened to her. A relatively good ending to a bad story.
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Old 09-11-08, 11:15 AM   #5
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I am doing my best to follow the Paralympic games and obviously the cycling is the one I really want to watch. Coverage for the UK competitors is pretty good over here but news of other competitors is a bit sparce. Barbara Buchan is an exception though and good coverage for her event.

I am not going to pick out any single competitor as I admire the courage and capability of most of the athletes. They are doing something that I cannot do and doing it at a level that I could never achieve.
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