Among the seven women and six men who will represent the U.S. at the Paralympic Games in London beginning in August are veterans Allison Jones and Muffy Davis.
“It’s a huge honor, one like no other,” said Jones, a six-time member of the team from Colorado Springs, Colo. “No other woman has made it six times, and to make it back-to-back like this is a big deal for me.”
Jones and Davis, of Salt Lake City, are joined by Monica Bascio, of Evergreen, Colo.; Alicia Dana, of Putmey, Vt.; Meg Fisher, of Seattle; Greta Niemanas, of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif.; and Jennifer Schuble, of Birmingham, Ala.
Jones’ experience could prove key for the team in London. Not only did she win a silver Paralympic cycling medal in 2008, but she also has competed in skiing for the U.S., earning a gold medal in slalom in 2006.
“You just want to do your best,” she said. “No predictions. Hopefully, just medals. But I’ll work on trial and road races and get prepared to compete.”
The six men include Joe Berenyi, of Oswego, Ill.; Steven Peace, of San Diego; Anthony Pedeferi, of Camarillo, Calif.; Clark Rachfal, of Annapolis, Md.; Oz Sanchez, of San Diego; and Anthony Zahn, of Riverside, Calif.
“Hopefully, we will compete and bring home medals,” Berenyi said. “Just making it isn’t good enough. We want to do well. It’s all about competing.”
If history is any indication, the team will be competitive. At the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, the U.S. won 14 medals in cycling, including five gold.
Along with the time trials held in Augusta on Thursday, the team was selected based on results from the Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles in February and the Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, in September.
Among those on the men’s team who won titles in Augusta this week are Berenyi, Zahn, Pedeferi and Peace. For the women, Jones, Fisher and Davis won titles in the time trials.
Peace, Sanchez and Schuble are military veterans making their debuts. Berenyi, who is making his Paralympic debut in just his second year of paracycling, won the C3 classification and a time trial event in Spain last week.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “This is still new to me, but I figured I’d give it a shot, and this year I won.”
The Paralympic Games will be held Aug. 29-Sept. 9. The time trials for cycling begin Sept. 5.