PUTNEY — Not long after Simone Biles performs in the gym and Katie Ledecky races in the pool, Alicia Dana will be aiming for a gold medal on the road.
“It’s an honor and thrill to be representing Team USA in Tokyo at the Paralympics this summer,” said the Putney woman, who will compete in para-cycling from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5. “Although this will be my third Games, it feels just as meaningful, if not more so. Having to hang in there and keep training an extra year for these Games has been hard, but has also boosted my commitment to the process. I’m happy I earned a spot on the team and am looking forward to it.”
Dana won the individual time trial at the World Cup event in Italy in 2019, beating runner-up Francesca Porcellato of the host country by nearly three minutes. Poland’s Renata Kaluza, Czech Republic’s Katerina Antosova, and Slovakia’s Anna Oroszova rounded out the top five.
“There are several tough competitors in my category of Women’s H3; from Italy, Germany, Poland, and the UK, specifically — all of whom I’ve raced against in World Cups, World Championships, and in prior Paralympics. They’re fast and strong, and I’ll need to bring everything I’ve got to the table,” said Dana.
The United States finished fourth in the Paralympic standings in Rio in 2016, behind China, Great Britain and Ukraine. Dana earned para-cycling silver for the red, white and blue in the time trial, behind champion Karen Darke of Great Britain.
“I ride between one to three hours a day, six days a week, either on the road or on my trainer in the garage. My workouts vary in intensity and duration and are pretty specific to the kinds of events I’ll be competing in,” the 52-year-old explained.
Dana, who became paralyzed from the waist down after falling from a tree at the Putney School 35 years ago, races on a recumbent handcycle. She will compete in both the time trial and road race in Tokyo.
“I don’t yet know specifics on the course, though I’m trying to find out. I’ve heard it’s hillier than usual, around the base of Mount Fuji, which I’m hoping is the case as I like climbing,” she mentioned. “I don’t yet know exact distances, but the time trial will likely be around 15 kilometers and the road race somewhere around 40-50 kilometers.”