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Jeremy Campbell Wins Discus Gold; Cheri Madsen Captures 10th Career Paralympic Medal

by Katie Grunik

Jeremy Campbell competes in the men's discus throw F46 final at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Sept. 2, 2021 in Tokyo.


TOKYO – Team USA Para Track and Field athletes persevered to podium finishes despite rainy conditions on night seven of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. 
Jeremy Campbell threw 60.22 to take home the men's discus throw F46 gold. Croatia's Ivan Katanusic earned silver with 55.06 Great Britain’s Dan Greaves edged out Team USA's David Blair to take bronze. 
This competition was a quest for redemption for Campbell. The American won this event at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012 before finishing fourth in Rio 2016. 
“Every gold medal is different but this one feels better than any of them just because it’s been nine years since London,” Campbell said. ”That’s the last time I was on the podium and so it just feels great to reclaim this one.” 
Campbell's first throw held him in gold medal position. The rain poured down for the whole competition, creating challenges for every thrower. Campbell said it was the wettest ring he’s every thrown on. 
“It was hard to navigate that,” Campbell said. “Luckily my rhythm when I throw is much slower than most so I felt like I did have an advantage because that’s how I throw. I was lucky to execute at least a little on the first throw to get one past 60. But I am absolutely surprised that 60.22 won this right now. If it wasn't for the weather, we were going to see some discs fly far today.” 
Campbell said he and every thrower in the field expected to put up bigger numbers on Thursday night. He was heartbroken for his teammate David Blair, who took a couple hard falls in the competition.
“I’m gutted that he’s not going to be on the podium with me,” Campbell said. “I really wish there had been two guys up there representing the U.S. when the anthem is played. For this to happen, honestly I don’t know how to articulate it. It hurts. I was in that position. I got fourth in Rio, and it doesn’t feel good…Who knows what it would’ve gone like without the rain.”
At the end of the event, the Americans embraced. Campbell said he told Blair that wished the circumstances were different so they could’ve gone to battle for the gold medal. 
“If he didn’t come along in the picture, I don’t know if anyone else in the Paralympic throwing scene right now would have pushed me to throw at the level that we’re throwing,” Campbell said “I couldn’t be extending the world record to 65.86 in May without David Blair alongside me. He has been crucial in my success so I’m very thankful for him.” 
Campbell hoped his teammate will stay in the sport so they can continue to push each other and fight for podium spots. For now, Campbell planned to return home and relax, something he felt like he hasn’t been able to do in a long time.

Cheri Madsen competes in the women's 400-meter T54 at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Sept. 2, 2021 in Tokyo.


If you want a legend in Para Track and Field, look no further than Cheri Madsen. Twenty-five years after her first podium finish at the Paralympic Games Atlanta 1996, Madsen took her silver in the women’s T54 400-meter at the Tokyo Paralympics. 
Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer won gold with 53.59, just ahead of Madsen’s 53.91. China’s Zhaoqian Zhou took bronze with a personal best 54.10. 
The mom of two has approached her whole journey in Tokyo with no expectations and couldn’t be happier to earn back-to-back silvers in the 400. She now has 10 Paralympic medals to her name; two gold, five silver and three bronze. 
“ I keep surprising myself,” Madsen said after her silver-medal finish. “I’ don’t how else to say it other than I keep surprising myself.” 
Madsen began racing in 1994, qualifying for her first Games two years later. She said she first fell in love with wheelchair racing because it brought her a sense of independence and community. 
“I come from a small town, and I was the only one in a wheelchair,” Madsen said. “When we found wheelchair racing, it was like something awoke within me. I was always competitive but I had nothing to be competitive with so when I found wheelchair sports it’s like it was meant to be.” 
After winning her first Paralympic gold medals in Sydney 2000, Madsen retired from wheelchair racing. During that time, she got married and had two daughters, who would go on to be athletes too. She retuned to wheelchair racing in 2013 after her father and brother were killed in a car crash. 
“I didn’t know what to expect in 2013 when I came back into racing,” Madsen said. “ I knew that I wanted to go to the Paralympics. I knew that I wanted to medal so I just kept setting goals for what I needed to do and how to reach them. “ 
Madsen said this will likely be her last Paralympics. She wanted to be remembered for her drive and determination no matter the circumstances. 
“If you really want something and you work hard enough, keep trying for it.” 
Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020? Visit to view the medal table and results.

Katie Grunik is a digital content creator covering the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 for She currently serves as the digital content coordinator for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.