The cycling competition got underway on Tuesday in Toronto’s High Park, as Prince Harry attended the beginning of what would be a fierce competition, despite the scorching temperatures.
Christy Wise from Team United States competed in women’s road cycling in the IRB category, winning bronze.
After losing her leg two years ago after being hit by a boat while paddleboarding, the Air Force captain took up cycling and has named her biking prosthetic ‘Pedalina.’ “I just love being out on an upright bicycle. I try to be normal and do things I did before,” said Christy.
Christy’s friend Maggie Matthews, whom she met when both were posted to the same airbase, has been in the crowd cheering her on and accompanies her to competitions.
Christy Wise (centre) with her mother (left) and friend Maggie Matthews (right).
“It’s amazing to see the progress she’s made,” said Maggie. “Two-and-a-half months after her amputation she was competing in sports. She overcame all her obstacles; she was able to get back into the cockpit within a year.”
Christy’s mother was also there cheering her on with a large group of her daughter’s friends.
Christy attributes her win to her motto, “Don’t long for what you were, but recklessly pursue what you can become.”
Silver medallist in the event was Julie Nadeau from Team Canada — in her first cycling event. Julie did not even own a bicycle until six months ago.
Julie Nadeau with her bike.
“The hill [on the course] was really tough going up,” said Julie. “I didn’t have much energy left, but I opened up as hard as I could, so after that I knew I had done well.”
Julie’s brother, Jean-François Nadeau, was there to support her. This was the first time he had seen her compete, and managed her social media campaign so that friends and family in Montreal could be kept up to date.
Julie’s Invictus Games journey was inspired by fellow soldiers. “I had been a nurse in the military before an accident fractured my leg,” she said. “I brought back guys from Afghanistan, and some of the guys who were injured are now on my team.”
The gold medal went to American Kelly Elmlinger, who finished more than a minute ahead of Julie and Christy, with a time of just over 10 minutes. Kelly’s gold-medal finish follows her outstanding results at the track at York Lions Stadium on Sunday and Monday when she won four gold medals. This is Kelly’s second Invictus Games, having competed in Orlando last year.