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Karen racing at the Paralympics: 

While watching the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, Helen and I had said "Karen should be in this". Then in the autumn of 2008, Karen mentioned that she was thinking of entering the Paralympics, and I told her of the conversation we had had, and that she should do it.  4 years on, she was there, and in many ways, it was incredible to think that she had gone and done it.  But then again, this is Karen!

We planned to head down for the Friday race, and spent an incredibly frustrating day on the Wednesday with no coverage of the time trial where Karen won Silver.  We made up for it on the Friday, and got to see Karen and Rachel produce one of the defining moments of the Paralympic games as they crossed the line together hand in hand.  With the 2 Americans already across the line ahead of them, only one medal was up for grabs.  After all the training leading up to that point, and helping each other during the race, they couldn't race each other at the end.  It was a shame that Karen did not get a bronze, but when the timings were done by thousandths of a second, someone was going to lose out.   In the end, despite not knowning Rachel, it is fitting that she got the Bronze medal, and I think that Karen can be incredibly proud of what she did. 

It is said that 4th is the worst position to finish, and usually no one remembers the person who finished in 4th, but in this case, the opposite is true.  I am extremely proud of what Karen has achieved, and felt privileged to witness her compete at the Paralympics.

Some footage from Channel 4

BBC News item of the Road Race

BBC News item of Karens success in the Time Trial

 
Karens Dad getting a picture of the
The Team Darke banner.
Proud parents of a Paralympic Silver medalist.
Some of the supporters.
Karen on the track before moving to the start line.
Karen on the track before moving to the start line.
Karen on the track before moving to the start line.
Karen on the track before moving to the start line.
Karen on the track before moving to the start line.
Just before the start.
At the start line, seconds before they were off.
The leading pack, including Karen, enter the stadium area.
The last bend before the long run into the start/finish area.  Karen is just at the back in this picture.
On that bend again - this was our first sight of them entering the stadium area.
Karen at the back of the leading group.
On the straight behind the stadium.  Karen is at the back of the group.
Karen and Rachel passing us, with the pack more strung out by now.
Was looking good with one lap to go...
Karen and Rachel entering the home straight.
Not quite the result we were hoping for, but a superb one regardless.
Rachel receiving the Bronze medal.
Karen joins the medalists on the podium.
About to get their teeth on the Bronze medal.
Photo time.
More photos
As with many other of these photos, I was taking pictures with the camera above my head more or less blind!
It's really hard to take a photo, with the camera above your head at full stretch, while cheering and jumping up and down, so it's remarkable that this one came out as it did!  Karen and Rachel crossing the line hand in hand.

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