Cyclist Maclean becomes only second ever athlete to win both Paralympic and Olympic medals
Sunday, 02 September 2012
September 2 - Craig Maclean became only the second person in history to win both an Olympic and a Paralympic medal when he bagged cycling's individual B sprint title alongside reigning champion Anthony Kappes in a British one-two at the London 2012 Paralympics today.
Maclean (pictured top, left, alongside Kappes) follows in the footsteps of Hungary's Pál Szekeres in winning both an Olympic and Paralympic medal.
The 41-year-old Scot was part of the British sprint team, alongside compatriot and six-times gold medal winner Sir Chris Hoy, which won silver at Sydney 2000.
Szekeres claimed a fencing bronze at Seoul 1988 before winning three golds and three bronze at subsequent Paralympics between Barcelona 1992 and Beijing 2008.
The 47-year-old wheelchair fencer, described as the most successful Paralympian in Hungary, is competing in his sixth Paralympics in London in a bid to further extend his medals tally.
Maclean, who also won nine medals in the World Championships in the team sprint, including gold in 2002, and a Commonwealth Games gold medal at Melbourne in 2006, retired from top-level cycling in 2008 after being bitterly disappointed at being not picked for Britain's team for the Beijing Olympics.
But it led to an approach to him for him to be a pilot for the Paralympic squad which has allowed him to retain a close involvement with the sport.
Maclean then had to sit out international competition for two years until 2010, the mandatory requirement to become a pilot for para-cycling tandem racing
At the 2011 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Maclean piloted Fachie to golds in the Tandem B Sprint and Tandem B 1000m Time Trial but joined Kappes to win those same titles in Los Angeles earlier this year.
There was an added edge to today's race because of the controversial disqualification of Kappes and Maclean, who were the favourites, in yesterday's one kilometre trial, which saw Fachie and Storey take gold.
The victory enabled Kappes, 39, to retain his crown after claiming gold at Beijing 2008 with Storey as his guide.
"It would've been nice to be celebrating the double, but I suppose we've redeemed ourselves a little bit," said Maclean.
"It's always nice to win."
Maclean and Kappes had qualified for the final after setting a world record of 10.05sec before winning both runs in the best-of-three final against Fachie and Storey to claim a comfortable victory.
It was the perfect way for the pair to bounce back after suffering two successive mechanical faults in the individual B 1km time trial, leading to their eventual disqualification.
"We came here to win two gold medals and we've won one – I'm not going to argue about that," said Kappes.
"Racing against Barney and Neil is pretty good and we know what each other can do – we knew it would be the toughest race we'd have."
Maclean added: "I just kept the power on the pedals – I did not know it was quite so convincing until we crossed the line."
Bronze went to Spain's Jose Enrique Porto Lareo and pilot Jose Antonio Villanueva, who had a similarly comfortable time against Japanese pair Tatsuyuki Oshiro and guide Yasafumi Ito.