Three-time Canadian Paralympic gold medalist Michelle Stilwell of Nanoose Bay is back in the record books.
On Sunday, the 37-year-old wheelchair racer smashed the world record in the T52 400-metre event at the Summer Down Under 2012 International Track and Road Racing Series in Canberra.
Earlier in the day, Stilwell raced the 100m event in a time of 20.97, a race she holds the world record in, in a time of 19.52. But it was the 400m event she was most focused on and leading up to the race.
“I truly felt like good things were going to happen,” she said.
Her positive energy drained from her body almost as fast as the air in one of her tires as she positioned herself at the start line. Races are rarely held up due to mechanical failures, but Stilwell wheeled to her race crew and they fixed her up faster than a NASCAR pit crew.
Stilwell then raced to a 1:06.57 finish, breaking the world record by more than two seconds.
“Words can not describe the elation I felt,” said Stilwell. “Here I thought I was in an individual sport but turns out I am in a team sport. Not just my Canadian staff but my fellow competitors as well who went out of their way to make it possible for me to race tonight.”
Stilwell returns back to the races at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre today (Tues., Jan. 24), to compete in the 100, 200, and 400m events.