Kadeena Cox knew the time she had to beat in the 500m cycling time trial to win gold, being the last racer on the track. But she also knew how fast she’d have to go to smash the Paralympic record – having set it herself in the Rio 2016 Games.
Of course, she went on to do just that taking – taking gold by over a second. In a sport that usually gets people on the podium by just a tenth of the second, that’s impressive.
You can watch Cox’s incredible display of power and speed below:
Speaking to Channel 4 after her win at Tokyo, Cox said: “I tried to enjoy this moment. I did enjoy Rio but I feel like I was so trying to go well that I didn’t really enjoy it so I really wanted to enjoy it [this time].
“It didn’t hit me until I got to the podium and then I realised why I had done it all so it’s a bit overwhelming.”
Not only will Cox make history with her record-breaking time, but in 2016, she also became the first Black athlete in history to win gold in both cycling and para-cycling. In fact, before her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis in 2014, Cox had been an Olympic-hopeful sprinter, training for the Paralympics in just two years.
Speaking about her legacy as a Black para-athlete, Cox said: “I totally expect there to be some young girl or boy sat at home thinking, ‘I want to be like Kadeena Cox’, and then going on to better everything I’ve done.
“That’s my hope and dream, just to empower people to go and do better than me.
“Just do everything you want to do. I fell into cycling by accident and now I want to be what other people can see and if they see me, then they can go on and be better than me.”
That’s a tough challenge, given that she’s got no plans to retire any time soon. Next week, Cox will try to repeat her gold medal success in the T38 400m athletics event. Because why not take gold on the track as well as in the velodrome?
Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).