Penn State Graduate Shawn Morelli Wins Paralympic Gold Medal
1998 Penn State graduate Shawn Morelli took gold at the 2016 Paralympics in track cycling’s 3000m pursuit C4 classification on Thursday.
Morelli, already the world record holder in the event from a world championships earlier in the year, broke the Paralympic record in qualifications earlier in the morning with a time of 3:57.741. She was more than four seconds faster than her nearest competitor.
In the gold medal final, she defeated defending Paralympic champion in the event Susan Powell with a time of 3:59.407. This is the first ever gold medal won by a Penn Stater at the Paralympics.
Morelli is a U.S. Army veteran from Meadville, PA. She started cycling in 2009 after returning home from Afghanistan seriously injured by an IED. This is her first Paralympics after falling short of qualifying for London 2012.
She will be competing in a number of other events in Rio, including the road race and the time trial. She is the defending world champion in both of those events. Another Penn Stater, freshman Emily Frederick will also be competing later this week in the shot put.