Fairy Storey in the Velodrome for golden couple


Click to follow
The Independent Online

A day to remember for Mr and Mrs Storey, and another happy day to savour for Britain in the Velodrome. Sarah Storey has two golds out of two and will now switch her attentions to the road, where she will pursue two more.

She was preceded yesterday to the top of the podium by her husband, Barney, a pilot rider for Neil Fachie in the tandem.

Again in partnership with Fachie, Barney will have the chance to equal his wife's current total in London today in the sprint, but he will never match Sarah's overall gold haul.

Yesterday, amid the characteristic tumult of the Velodrome, she swooped relentlessly to her ninth Paralympic gold, five of them having come in the pool, catching her opponent, Jennifer Schuble of the US, well inside half distance.

"No-one ever expected me to win a medal in a sprint event," she said. "I've ridden maybe nine track sessions before this race so it has been an incredible journey. To come away with a gold and hear that roar again makes me so proud."

She had watched Barney's race – which came in the morning – in her apartment in the athletes' village. "We've won on the same day, I just can't believe it," she said. "I'm so proud of him. It was a phenomenal time. I was sat there watching and I was like 'wow, check that out. I've got to do him proud!'

"Barney is the centre of my world. He has an immense knowledge in cycling and then I came along, this big-shouldered raw swimmer, he just taught me everything. We sat watching the Tour de France for years and watching the Olympic team, and Barney's there telling me where to improve."

They first met eight years ago when Sarah Bailey, as she then was, was still a swimmer and the cycling and swimming teams shared a training camp in Cyprus.

It was after the Athens Paralympics, where Barney Storey made his debut as a pilot, that Sarah turned to cycling. "I saw him a bit more and a bit more and eventually he plucked up the courage to ask me out – I thought he never would," she said.

Fachie, from Aberdeen, is competing in his second Paralympics, but first as a cyclist. He went to Beijing as a sprinter, but after failing to make the final in the 100m and the 200m, the then 24-year-old decided on a career change.

It has paid off dramatically and yesterday the pair recorded another noisily received world record.

The moment the medal was confirmed arrived in less grand fashion. Fachie and Storey had expected to have to see off the challenge of team-mates Anthony Kappes and his pilot Craig Maclean, but the current world champions were the latest British riders to fall foul of the start rules.

They had two failed starts due to mechanical problems and that meant they could not contest the race.

There was also a second silver of the Games for Jon-Allan Butterworth, in the C5 pursuit, and a well- received bronze for Jody Cundy, in the C4 pursuit.