U.S. Paralympics Cycling roster expands to 16 for Tokyo Paralympics

by Kristen Gowdy

Jill Walsh competes in the U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open in Huntsville, Alabama in April 2021. (Photo: Casey Gibson)

COLORADO SPRINGS – U.S. Paralympics Cycling today announced that it will add Jill Walsh (Syracuse, New York) and Joe Berenyi (Aurora, Illinois) to its roster for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 after the duo were invited to compete in the Games via the Bipartite Commission Invitation Allocation by the international governing body for para-cycling (UCI) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The addition of Walsh and Berenyi brings the Tokyo roster to 16 for Team USA. 

Per the IPC’s guidebook to Games qualification for para-cycling, five eligible male athletes and five eligible female athletes across all competing countries will be considered by the IPC and UCI for Bipartite Commission Invitation slots. Walsh and Berenyi were invited by name following the consideration process. 

“We knew this was a possibility, and we are excited to have Jill and Joe join the team in Tokyo,” Ian Lawless, Director of U.S. Paralympics Cycling, said. “We had such a competitive field this year for the U.S. Paralympics Team Trials – Cycling, and both athletes are fully deserving of a spot on the team. Both are former world champions and Paralympic medalists, and they will add veteran leadership and increase our already strong podium chances in Tokyo.”

Walsh, a road cyclist competing in the women’s T2 classification, is a two-time Paralympic medalist, taking home silver in both the road race and the road time trial in Rio. She is also a nine-time world championships medalist and this season took double gold in the U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open in Huntsville, Alabama before grabbing silver in the team’s only UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup race in Ostend, Belgium. 

Berenyi is set to make his third Paralympic appearance in Tokyo after competing in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. Primarily a track cyclist, he is a four-time Paralympic medalist, including a gold in the London track pursuit in the men’s C3 classification, a race in which he set the world record. He also has two silvers and a bronze and is a 16-time world championships medalist. Berenyi also has the potential to be the busiest athlete on Team USA – he will compete on both the track and the road, with the potential to race in three events on the track and two on the road.

In addition, five athletes have been named as substitutes for the Tokyo team. These athletes are not on the official roster but are eligible to be selected if another athlete withdraws due to illness or injury. Six-time Paralympic medalist Oz Sanchez (San Diego, California) highlights the group, which also includes Paralympic medalists Ryan Boyle (Monroe, Connecticut), Travis Gaertner (Burien, Washington) and Jamie Whitmore (Somerset, California), as well as Paralympic hopeful Jason Macom (Little Rock, Arkansas).

U.S. Paralympics Cycling announced the other 14 members of its 2020 Paralympic team in June. The Tokyo Paralympics will begin August 24. Cycling competition runs from August 25 – September 3. 

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