Day 3 at the Tokyo Paralympics marked the beginning of track and field competition inside the Olympic Stadium, and it did not take long for the United States to find its newest star on the track. 25-year-old Nick Mayhugh from Manassas, Virginia, became the first T37 athlete to break the 11-second mark in the 100 meters, and he did it twice in one day.
Mayhugh is a former Division I soccer player at Radford University. He competes internationally in seven-a-side soccer, which was contested at the Paralympics for three decades before being dropped from the Games for Tokyo. In 2019, Mayhugh, who has cerebral palsy, began training as a track and field athlete. He went 10.97 in the morning prelims and then 10.95 for a gold medal in the final, each a world record. He has a chance to add more hardware in his debut Paralympics in the 400m and 4x100m.
Elsewhere at the Games, swimming stars Jessica Long and Mallory Weggemann took home their first medals of the Tokyo Games, the wheelchair rugby semifinal matchups were clinched and the United States continued its winning ways in men's wheelchair basketball.
Below is a rundown of some of the key events that took place on the second day of the Games.
Track & Field
Mayhugh's record-setting heroics were far from the only highlights from opening day at the track as multiple other world records fell.
China's Zhou Xia capped off the morning session with an all-time mark in the women's 100m T35 final, running a 13.00 for the gold. In the evening, countrywoman Wen Xiaoyan shattered the 200m T37 world record, going 26.58 for her third Paralympic gold medal.
The most exciting battle of the day took place in the men's 400m T52 final which came down to a late comeback charge between American Raymond Martin and Japan's Tomoki Sato.
Sato overtook Martin in the closing meters to win the gold medal in Paralympic record time of 55.39, just .20 ahead of Martin.
In the Men's T11 Long Jump, American Lex Gillette won a remarkable fifth straight silver medal in the event, this time finishing behind only China's Di Dongdong.
After setting a Paralympic record in the heats, Mallory Weggemann of the United States won gold in the women's 200m IM SM7 in 2:55.48, winning by more than seven seconds for her second Paralympic gold medal. American teammate Ahalya Lettenberger took the silver.
Weggemann, 32, became paralyzed from the waist down after a routine epidural injection to treat shingles pain in her back went wrong. In 2014, she suffered another damaging accident when her shower bench collapsed and her left arm smashed on the floor, causing nerve damage from which she is still recovering.
Freehold, New Jersey, native Robert Griswold won his first career Paralympic gold medal in world record fashion in the men's 100m backstroke S8. Griswold, who has cerebral palsy, was behind world record pace after 75 meters but built up speed in the closing half-length to lower the all-time mark to 1:02.55. He won the event by more than four seconds.
Finally, 13-time Paralympic gold medalist – and star of a 2021 Super Bowl commercial – Jessica Long captured her first medal of the Tokyo Games, a bronze in the women's 100m breaststroke S8 classification. Long finished in 1:18.55, off the winning pace by 1.71.
The United States closed out an undefeated group stage with a thrilling come-from-behind win against Great Britain, 50-48. Both teams entered with 2-0 records already assured of spots in the semifinal, but crucial seeding was on the line in the Group B finale.
Sloppy play from the U.S. – coupled with early aggressiveness from Team GB – saw the Brits take a hefty five-point lead after the first quarter. The Americans settled down in the second frame, gradually chipping away at the deficit.
U.S. captain Chuck Aoki set the tone for the comeback early in the fourth quarter, forcing a turnover with a massive hit on Great Britain’s Jamie Stead. Aoki scored on the next possession to tie the game 36-36.
The U.S. took its first lead with 5:21 remaining after another Britain turnover. The two nations traded tries through the closing minutes and after a desperation play from Team GB resulted in a last-minute turnover, Aoki sealed the two-point win with a score. The U.S. advanced as a top seed to the semifinals.
As for who they would play, Japan took on Australia in the Group A decider in a matchup between the defending world and Olympic champions. It was the host nation sealing an undefeated group stage with a 57-53 win, as Ikezaki Daisuke’s 24 tries led the way.
As a result, Japan will take on Great Britain and the U.S. will get Australia in the final four. France, Denmark, Canada and New Zealand are eliminated.
It was a day of blowouts on the court as just two of ten wheelchair basketball contests finished within single digits. The United States men defeated Iran by 24 points, but that paled in comparison to the beatdown the Netherlands women placed upon Algeria, 108-18.
Mariska Beijer put up 33 points for the Dutch squad, shooting nearly 73% from the field.
The U.S. benefited from a team-wide performance where all 11 active players scored and seven posted at least six points. Steve Serio led the way with 12 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. The squad improved to 2-0 in group play
American Roxanne Trunnell guided her horse, Dolton, to an 81.46% score in the Grade I individual dressage competition, good enough for the gold medal. Trunnell, 36, is competing at her second Paralympic Games after a meteoric rise in the sport in the last three years. She and Dolton are currently ranked No. 1 across all five Para grades with more medal opportunities to come in Tokyo.
Trunnell was a gifted able-bodied rider and Olympic hopeful in her early 20s before an infection of H1N1 (swine flu) virus in 2009 left her unable to stand. Experiencing inflammation of the brain, she was put in a medically-induced coma, during which a blood clot formed in her legs and travelled to her brain, causing a stroke. She has required a wheelchair ever since but got back in the saddle shortly afterwards to begin her career in Para dressage.
Japan dominated the United States men, the 2016 silver medalists, 11-1 in a Group A matchup. Sano Yuto led the host nation with six goals while Daryl Walker scored the lone U.S. goal less than a minute into the first half.
Australia's Amanda Reid took gold in the women's C1-3 500m time trial in world record fashion. Reid, who competes in the C2 class, delivered a 35.581. China's Qian Wangwei set a C1 world record in the race, taking bronze in 38.070.
All three medalists in the men's C1-3 1000m time trial broke world records in their respective classes. China's Li Zhangyu (C1) clocked a 1:08.347 for gold, France's Alexandre Leaute (C2) went 1:09.211 and Great Britain's Jaco van Gass (C3) took bronze in 1:05.569.
Dual-sport athlete Kadeena Cox (Great Britain) set a C4 world record in the women's C4-5 500m time trial, defending her title in 34.812. Cox will also attempt to defend her gold medal in the T38 400-meter race later in the Games.