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Karen Darke

Karen has always been a keen athlete and early sporting achievements include climbing Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn in 1991 before winning the Swiss KIMM Mountain Marathon in 1992.

However in 1993 Karen fell while climbing and was paralysed from the chest down. Since then Karen completed a number of expeditions including climbing El Capitan and skiing across Greenland.

She started handbiking in 2009 and joined the Great Britain Cycling Team in 2010. Karen enjoyed immediate success winning bronze medals in the H2 time-trial and H2 road race in 2011.

Karen’s success led to her selection for the Paralympic Games in 2012, where she secured a silver medal in the H1-2 time-trial. Karen and her team-mate Rachel Morris then produced one of the most memorable moments of the Paralympic Games when, rather than deciding to race each other for the bronze medal in the H1-3 road race, they decided to cross the finish line hand in hand, crossing the finish line in the same time, though Morris was later awarded the bronze medal.

Since London 2012 Karen has continued to be a consistent fixture on the podium at international events with the highlight being her performance at the 2014 road world championships in Greenville, USA where she picked up a silver medal in the H3 time-trial and bronze in the H3 road race.

In 2016 Karen again represented ParalympicsGB at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games where she claimed gold in the time trial.

Away from cycling, Karen is also a two-time World Champion in para-triathlon and since London 2012 she has completed Ironman competitions and handbiked across Cuba, amongst other adventures.

Major results

2016 Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Time Trial
2012 London Paralympic Games
H1-2 time-trial
2014 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, USA
H3 time-trial
2014 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, USA
H3 road race

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