BRATTLEBORO >> Two-time Paralympian Alicia Dana of Putney rocketed to a silver medal Wednesday for hand cycling in the Women's Time Trial in Rio.
By age 16, Dana was competing as a junior at the national level in both cycling and cross-country skiing as an able-bodied athlete. But at 17, she had to adjust her athletic goals after she fell from a tree and was paralyzed from the waist down.
Dana began handcycling in her late 20s, and in 2000 she rode from Washington state to Vermont to raise money for disability-related causes. Shortly thereafter, Dana tried her first competitive race after the encouragement of a friend. She made her first U.S. Paralympics Cycling National Team in 2001 and competed at the 2002 world championships, but then stepped away from the sport for several years to raise her daughter, Willa. She didn't return to handcycling until 2011
The 47-year-old has lived in this area since she was about 7 years old and said she has a lot of people to thank, including the entire community. In 2011 the community held a fundraiser, raising $10,000 to help buy her a high-tech racing bike after her previous one was stolen.