Peterborough paratriathlete Lauren Steadman targeting gold medal glory at 2024 Paris Paralympics

Peterborough paratriathlete Lauren Steadman turned silver into gold in Tokyo last summer and revealed her one lingering emotion: relief.

Friday, 6th May 2022, 6:19 am
Updated Friday, 6th May 2022, 6:30 am
Lauren Steadman is aiming to add gold in Paris to her current Paralympic title.
Lauren Steadman is aiming to add gold in Paris to her current Paralympic title.

Last summer, Steadman, 29, stormed to PTS5 Paralympic gold, beating American rival Grace Norman by 41 seconds to banish demons from five years before.

The Brit had been the favourite heading into the Rio Paralympics, but a mistake cost her in the swim, and she was forced to settle for PT4 silver behind her US rival.

Despite dominating the swim, bike, run in Tokyo, Steadman was so fearful of something having gone wrong she refused to celebrate until the result was official.

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“I think every race since I got that silver had in one way or another not boosted my confidence - because I always know I’ve been capable - but has given me the sense I’m going in the right direction. I took a little bit of spark from each and every race just to push forwards,” she said.

“People were throwing flags at me down the finishing straight in Tokyo. Part of me wishes now that I had relaxed a little bit because I had the lead - I should’ve done the classic grab the flag and run down the straight.

“I was so fearful that something was going to go wrong that when I crossed that white line, and I was still waiting to hear if I had any penalties.

“When they confirmed everything, that was when you saw the huge smile and just the relief relaxed through my shoulders.”

With one Paralympic title now secured, the 29-year-old’s long-term goal is to claim a second title at Paris 2024.

A new domestic race in Swansea - the first standalone paratriathlon event in the UK - is a major target for this season, though Steadman is taking a more relaxed approach after an intense Paralympic cycle.

She said: “I think this year for the first time I’m trying to focus a bit more on a new routine and focus on me more, racing as a secondary thing. Then I have two years after that to sharpen up a bit and focus on Paris.

“This year I’ll be on the start line, obviously we’ve got Europeans and then we’ve got Swansea, which will be lovely as for me now living in Bristol as it’s only short drive away. That’ll be really nice.

“The fact that this time it’s going to be an event that is purely for paratri, it’s going to be bigger and better. I know a lot of the best are planning on coming.

“It’s not all about winning, it’s about seeing girls representing my category from all over the world, coming together. It’s super exciting - I just hope the weather holds out for us!”

Swim, bike, run in Britain will have a 2022 to remember with AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds on 11-12 June, triathlon and paratriathlon at Birmingham Commonwealth Games on 29 and 31 July, and Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea on 6 August.