The University of Brighton joined in the Paralympics celebrations, having coached or supported several GB medal-winning stars.
The most decorated female GB Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey, coached by the university’s Dr Gary Brickley, won her 14th gold medal in the cycling road race, her third gold of the Rio Games.
And another cycling star coached by Dr Brickley, Dave Stone MBE, collected bronze and silver medals, making a career total of six.
Dr Brickley, Senior Lecturer and exercise physiologist and based at the university’s School of Sport and Service Management in Eastbourne said: “The Paralympic Games in Rio have been a huge success, improving on London in the same way the Olympic team managed to secure more medals.
“There had been several concerns about Rio with the Zika virus, pollution, venues not ready, challenges in the heat before it even started. However, with the right preparations and the right team GB had a brilliant games.
“Sarah’s first event was the 3,000m pursuit – and she broke her own world record and stormed the final to take her first gold and make her the most successful GB female Paralympian ever.
“Her second event the 500m was one where she was not expected to medal and she came 4th behind gold medalist Kadena Cox from GB who is a sprinter. To be in the Olympic velodrome to see Sarah win another gold medal was a great experience. She made it look relatively easy but I know how well she has prepared and how hard she trains throughout the year.
“The road moved down the coast to Pontal where both David and Sarah competed. After a tough year David was delighted to win bronze in the time trial and silver in the road race. Having worked with him for over 16 years it was brilliant to see him perform so well. Sarah added two golds to her collection in both events and was in a different class throughout. As a coach it was incredibly rewarding to see both athletes performing so well.
“The Paralympic Games are always an incredible festival of sport and the Brazilians put on an impressive games. There was an incredible atmosphere at all the venues. I was lucky enough to watch former Alumni of the Year Faye McClelland just miss out on a medal at the triathlon on Copacabana beach.
“I was also privileged to be a recipient of a Santander Travel Grant which also allowed me to meet research collaborators in Florianopolis as well as at the Games in Rio.”
Colin Paterson, Senior Lecturer at the School of Heath Sciences, acted as the lead physiotherapist at the Paralympics GB Holding Camp and was there to oversee the physiotherapy provision. He said: “It was an honour to have been chosen and it was great working with Paralympics GB again and supporting the teams to produce their best performances.”
Simon Munn ended his 24 year Paralympic career with a bronze medal as part of the GB Wheelchair Basketball team. The GB Wheelchair basketball team star, taking part in what was his seventh consecutive Games, worked with Alex Bliss, Strength and Conditioning Coach based at the university’s Sport and Exercise Science Consultancy Unit.
Alex said: “Simon won a silver medal (Atlanta 1996) and two bronze medals at Paralympics in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008 and the team achieved a fourth place finish at London 2012. Team GB are the current European champions.”
Sue Lynch, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, watched the Paralympic sailing contest with special interest – her son Marcus Lynch coaches Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell who matched their London 2012 feats by taking Skud-18 bronze on the final day of the sailing competitions.
Sue said: “It has been a long and hard commitment for Marcus, getting to not only understand the disabilities that these athletes have but how to maximise and develop their skills needed for elite sailing performance.”