Rachel Morris made her third Paralympic Games appearance at Rio 2016 – but her first in a boat.
Rachel enjoyed a successful career as a hand-cyclist, winning time-trial gold at Beijing 2008 and bronze in the road race at London 2012. Seeking a new challenge, Rachel transferred to rowing in 2013 and qualified the arms-shoulders women’s single scull boat for Rio 2016.
She won silver on her international debut at the 2014 World Cup in Aiguebelette and finished 5th at that year’s World Championships in Amsterdam, close behind London 2012 Paralympic Champion Alla Lysenko of Ukraine.
Rachel finished the 2015 season on a high after winning a first World Championship medal in her rowing. Despite undergoing shoulder surgery in April, she made a quick return to the water and qualified her boat for Rio at the 2015 World Championships in Aiguebelette, France, winning a silver after reeling in fast-starting Norwegian Birgit Skarstein to secure second place behind Israel’s Moran Samuel.
Ahead of her selection for Rio, Rachel took gold at the 2016 World Cup in Poznan with a perfectly timed finish, to beat both Skarstein and Samuel.
At Rio 2016, Rachel won singles sculls gold, eight years after she last topped the Paralympic podium in cycling. She was behind throughout the race but overhauled Chinese rival Lili Wang just a few metres from the finish line.
Rachel’s career in disability sport began when she made her competitive debut in cycling in 2006. Her potential was soon spotted by British Cycling’s coaches, who placed her on a full-time coaching programme in 2007.
At Beijing 2008, Rachel shone on her Paralympic debut, winning gold in the women’s HC A/B/C time-trial by almost three minutes to become Britain’s first Paralympic Games Handcycling Champion. She also finished in 6th place in the HC A/B/C road race.
Just before London 2012, Rachel was involved in a road traffic accident and suffered shoulder injuries and whiplash. Nonetheless, she made the decision to compete and was rewarded with bronze in the H1-3 road race. The decision to give Rachel the medal was based on a photo finish after she crossed the line hand-in-hand with ParalympicsGB team-mate Karen Darke. Rachel also finished 5th in the H3 time-trial
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