On day four of the Tokyo Paralympics, American swimmer Jessica Long claimed her fourth straight gold medal in the women’s SM8 200m IM. It marks Long’s 25th career Paralympic medal and 14th gold.
Long touched the wall in 2:41.49, finishing more than six seconds ahead of silver medalist Xenia Francesca Palazzo of Italy and seven seconds ahead of Russian bronze medalist Mariia Pavlova. The other American in the final, Haven Shepherd, finished fifth (3:03.59).
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“I’m over the moon,” Long told Olympic Information Service after the final. “That’s what I really wanted going into these Games was to have a four-peat in the 200 IM. Just really proud of myself.”
In the lead-up to Tokyo, Long decided to relocate to the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. After today’s race, she cited the move with helping her win.
“I made that very big sacrifice to have this type of performance, and it’s paying off,” she said. “Just being at altitude, long-course with an amazing group of people, I’m really thankful for the days that didn’t seem worth it.”
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The Tokyo Games mark Long’s fifth Paralympic appearance. She made her debut at the 2004 Athens Games, where she was just 12 years old. Five years ago in Rio, she became the second-most decorated Paralympian in U.S. history.
While the all-time U.S. Paralympic record (55 medals, earned by fellow American swimmer Trischa Zorn-Hudson) is out of reach for now, Long told On Her Turf in February that she hopes to compete at least through the 2028 Los Angeles Paralympics.
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How to watch the Tokyo Paralympics
NBC will provide over 1,200 hours of Paralympic coverage. Here are some highlights: