Oswego Paralympian takes gold, sets world cycling record
By Stephanie Lulay and Matt Hanley email@example.com August 31, 2012 2:32PM
(L-R) Britain's silver medallist Shaun McKeown, gold medallist Joseph Berenyi of the US and Britain's bronze medallist Darren Kenny pose on the podium during the award ceremony for the men's individual C3 pursuit final cycling event during the London 2012 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Park's Velodrome in east London on August 31, 2012. Liang won the event in a world record time. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRKGLYN KIRK/AFP/GettyImages
Updated: October 3, 2012 6:16AM
Some London gold will be coming back to the Fox Valley. Oswego para-cyclist Joe Berenyi won a gold medal Friday at the 2012 Paralympics in London and set a world record.
After a mechanical issue at the starting line, Berenyi, 43, was issued a restart in the final. He made the most of it, winning the 3-kilometer individual pursuit with a time of 3 minutes, 37.912 seconds.
In a qualifying heat earlier in the day, Berenyi set a world record, completing the race in 3 minutes, 36.148 seconds.
Berenyi’s mother, Dolores Berenyi, said she was shaking after her son won the gold.
“I know how hard he has worked and how badly he wanted to medal, so I am so happy for him and extremely proud of him,” she said Friday.
As Berenyi stood on the Paralympic podium and the U.S. National Anthem played, his youngest daughter sobbed.
“When I asked her what was wrong, she said she was crying because she was so happy for her daddy,” Dolores Berenyi said.
On Saturday, Waubonsie Valley High School swimmer Alyssa Gialamas, finished fifth — the top American — in the women’s 200 meter freestyle.
Gialamas made the finals by breaking the U.S. record by 2 seconds.
Swimming from lane two in the final, she finished in three minutes, 15.66 seconds.
“Had an amazing swim tonight!” she wrote on her Facebook page. “Placed 5th in the world!! So happy with my swim! It’s a dream come true!”
The Naperville junior, who walks using knee-ankle-foot braces, will compete Sept. 8 in the 100-meter freestyle.
Berenyi is scheduled to compete in two more track events on Sunday, and road events on Wednesday and Thursday.
“I’ve been focusing on the individual pursuit and road time trial,” Berenyi said from the Olympic Village in London.
Berenyi lost his right arm, severely broke a leg and shattered a kneecap in an on-the-job construction accident 18 years ago.
After surgery, the Aurora Central Catholic High School and Waubonsee Community College grad resumed cycling competitively. Berenyi competes on a modified two-wheel racing bike.
The Paralympic Games run through Sept. 9. A live stream and schedule of events is at the Paralympic’s website: www.paralympic.org.