First Gold, Then Sleep
In early February, Marie-Amelie le Fur came to The Armory for the New Balance Collegiate Invitational and drew a lot of attention as a college competitor from Montpellier, France. Seven months later she is a gold medalist at the Paralympics in London, winning the women's 100m dash in 13.26.
le Fur — who lost her leg in an automobile accident — competes in "T44," the classification for those competitors who have had a "below-the-knee" amputation. Among the runners she defeated in the final was American April Holmes, the 2008 gold medalist in Beijing.
le Fur fell to the track shortly after crossing the line and didn't know if she'd taken the gold until the results appeared on the big screen in the Stadium.
“My objective was to win the gold medal," she offered. "I will celebrate later with my parents, who came to watch me. I still have the 200m in two days' time, so I will sleep, sleep and sleep.”
A local man — 18-year-old Raymond Martin of Jersey City — has already won two gold medals in the T52 classification, for wheelchair athletes with "limited shoulder, arm and hand functions to different degrees and no trunk or leg function." His margins of victory have been massive, finishing the 100m in 17.02 and the 400m in 58.54. Winning bronze in the 100 was 43-year-old Paul Nitz of Bloomfield, Conn., who won gold in the same event… back in Barcelona in 1992!
Martin — who was recently profiled by Jackie Friedman of Newark's Star Ledger — is enrolled at the University of Illinois, where he will soon be studying kinesiology. According to the Star Ledger, Illinois is "one of two schools in the country that offers wheelchair sports."
The Paralympics last through the coming weekend.