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Team USA Universal Relay Takes First Paralympic Gold In The Event With World Record Time

by Stuart Lieberman

(L-R) Brittni Mason, Noah Malone, Tatyana McFadden and Nick Mayhugh celebrate after winning gold in the 4x100m universal relay at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Sept. 03, 2021 in Tokyo.


In the first-ever 4x100-meter universal relay Paralympic final, Team USA stormed to gold in a world-record time of 45.52, as Noah Malone (T12), Brittni Mason (T46), Nick Mayhugh (T37) and Tatyana McFadden (T54) combined to put on a thrilling show on Friday evening in Tokyo.
“I knew that this was the group to be in it,” McFadden said. “We got out really fast, transitioned really well, and there was no one I’d rather have than these three others here with me who trained and worked so hard to get here.”
The final exchange between Mayhugh and McFadden was seamless in the final after a near slip-up in the heats, and the victory marked McFadden’s 20th career Paralympic medal and eighth gold.
“We had a small team meeting after the heat and said this is a real opportunity for us,” Mayhugh commented. “We smoothed out a few things and were able to execute, and to do it with the legend-ary Tatyana McFadden in her last race on the track here was incredible.”
With a full set of medals already in Tokyo — gold, silver and bronze — the 32-year-old McFadden has one remaining event Sunday, when she’ll go for her first Paralympic gold medal in her signa-ture event, the marathon.
The U.S., whose athletes spoke the universal relay into existence, finished nearly two seconds ahead of second-place Great Britain are now the Paralympic and world champions in the event.
“It’s been really amazing,” McFadden said, “and I wouldn’t want to do it with any other team.”

Cassie Mitchell competes during the women's discus throw F52 final at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 at on Aug. 30, 2021 in Tokyo.


In the field, Cassie Mitchell took silver in the club throw F51, capturing her third medal in as many Paralympics and improving one position in the event from in 2016. The biomedical engineer from Warner, Oklahoma, threw an American record 24.18 meters to take second behind Ukraine’s Zoia Ovsii, who set a new Paralympic best mark of 25.12.
“I had discus earlier and I got fourth, so that kind of fed the hunger where you’re like, ‘Ah, I don’t want to be left off the medal stand this time,’” Mitchell said.
Social media sensation Hunter Woodhall, the first double amputee to have earned an NCAA Divi-sion I scholarship in track and field, clocked a season’s best 48.61 to snag Paralympic bronze— his first medal in Tokyo — in the men’s 400-meter T62 final on Friday. Finishing behind only Jo-hannes Floors of Germany and Olivier Hendriks of the Netherlands, Woodhall repeated his third-place performance from Rio five years ago.
“I’ve been telling myself these whole Games that I just want to get out there and do my best, no matter what the outcome is, and I would be happy with it. I can’t complain about being on the po-dium again,” said Woodhall, whose girlfriend Tara Davis represented Team USA in the long jump at the Olympics last month.
Woodhall, a Syracuse, Utah, native, is now a three-time Paralympic medalist, having won a silver and bronze in Rio. He said he will return home before making any decisions about his future as an athlete.
“I come out here because I enjoy the sport of track and field, and I enjoy competition and running, but for me a lot of this is to show other people who may have a similar situation,” he remarked. “I’ve got a disability that is very visible, and if I can inspire somebody else, or push someone else to chase a dream, it is totally worth it."

Cassie Mitchell competes during the women's discus throw F52 final at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 at on Aug. 30, 2021 in Tokyo.


Woodhall’s teammate, Nick Rogers, was sixth in the final in a season’s best 52.98.
Shortly after that, Mayhugh, who has already won two golds and a silver in the T37 classification in Tokyo, smashed the world record in his 200-meter heat by three tenths of a second. He clocked a 22.26 over the distance after having only switched from soccer to track 18 months ago. He’ll compete in the final on Saturday.
Elsewhere for the U.S., 20-year-old rising star Beatriz Hatz ran 13.31 to take sixth place in the women’s 100-meter T64 and end her Games with three top-six finishes.
In the men’s 200-meter T61, former U.S. Army specialist Luis Puertas set an America’s record of 25.40 to take fourth place, while Regas Woods was fifth in a season-best time of 26.74.

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020? Visit to view the medal table and results.

Stuart Lieberman has covered Paralympic sports for 10 years, including for the International Paralympic Committee at the London 2012, Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Games. He is a freelance contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.