Mallory Weggemann ends nine-year podium gap, earns second Tokyo gold
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - In London 2012, she was unexpectedly forced to swim in a different class but she eventually won gold, along with a bronze. Four years later in Rio, she was unable to medal at all. After five years of hard-training, which included a one-year delay, Eagan, Minn.’s very-own Mallory Weggeman has already earned two gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Monday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Weggemann, who is also well-known for also giving speaking tours across the United States, trailed Canadian swimmer Danielle Dorris throughout most of the Women’s 100m Backstroke S7 final. Even at the halfway point, Dorris lead by .62, which can feel like an eternity in the pool. With ten meters left to swim, Mallory appeared to be in silver medal position, but was able to sneak past her Northern rival and touch the wall at 1:21.27, a new Paralympic record- all with her family in Minnesota cheering her on, as seen on NBCSN’s broadcast. Joining her on the podium was Julia Gaffney of Mayflower, Ark., who earned bronze with a time of 1:22.02.
Mallory’s nine-year drought came to an end Friday in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley, a race not as dramatic as Monday’s contest. In all four strokes- butterfly, backstroke, breastroke, and freestyle- the Minnesota-native maintained a respectable lead, winning with a time of 2:55.48, six seconds ahead of compatriot Ahalya Lettenberger of Glen Ellen, Ill., who took silver.
Weggemann lost movement below her waist in 2008 as a result of epidural injections in her back, which were used at the time to treat shingles. Shortly after the Rio Paralympics, she made national news for other reasons. On New Year’s Even 2016, she was able to take steps at her wedding. As if wedding preparations weren’t challenging enough. Her ability to take a few steps was a team effort from her family, therapists and now-husband Jeremy.
She more races lined up this week, including the 50m and 100m Freestyle, and the 50m Butterfly- all in the “S7” class (Paralympians compete against others with similar impairments). Coverage of the Tokyo Paralympics can be seen across NBC’s various platforms, including weekend feature shows which air on KCBD-TV.
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