Army Veteran With Tours in Iraq, Afghanistan Takes Gold in Paralympic Cycling

August 31, 2021Hannah Ray Lambert

Army veteran Shawn Morelli won cycling gold Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photo courtesy of Shawn Morelli/Facebook.

A US Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan won cycling gold Tuesday, Aug. 31, in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Shawn Morelli finished first in the Women’s C4 Time Trial. She completed the 24-kilometer race with a time of 39:33.79 on the first day of road cycling at the Paralympics, defending her title from the 2016 Rio Games.

Morelli was commissioned as an Army engineer officer in 1996 and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2007, a blast from an improvised explosive device blinded Morelli in her left eye and damaged her neck and spine, according to the International Paralympic Committee.

She started her cycling career after being exposed to competitive cycling at the 2010 Warrior Games and quickly found success in the sport. The 45-year-old from Greenville, Pennsylvania, has won more than a dozen medals in her cycling career.

Morelli also claimed Team USA’s first medal of the 2020 Paralympics, a silver in the women’s C4 3,000-meter pursuit track cycling event last week.

Ryan Pinney competes in the cycling competition during the 2014 Wounded Warrior Air Force Trials on April 9, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen.

“I love to compete and just being out there for everybody, not just for me but for my family, my friends, my country,” Morelli said at the time. “I just wanted to really perform well and represent my team and, hopefully, everybody back home thinks I did.”

Navy veteran and five-time Paralympian Will Groulx, riding a handcycle, took fourth in the Men’s H2 Time Trial. Army veteran Tom Davis took fifth in the Men’s H4 Time Trial. Air Force veteran Ryan Pinney took sixth in the Men’s H3 Time Trial. Army veteran Monica Sereda finished seventh in the Women’s T1-2 Time Trial. Army veteran Alfredo de los Santos took sixth in the Men’s H5 Time Trial.

Read Next: Meet the 21 Service Members and Veterans Representing the US in the Paralympics

Hannah Ray Lambert
Hannah Ray Lambert

Hannah Ray Lambert is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die who previously covered everything from murder trials to high school trap shooting teams. She spent several months getting tear gassed during the 2020-2021 civil unrest in Portland, Oregon. When she’s not working, Hannah enjoys hiking, reading, and talking about authors and books on her podcast Between Lewis and Lovecraft.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Curtis LeMay
Curtis LeMay: The World War II General Who Firebombed Japan

Who exactly was Gen. Curtis LeMay? And how did he become the commander who razed more than 60 Japanese cities during World War II?

eric smith marine corps commandant nominee
Highly Decorated Marine Officer Nominated To Be Next Commandant

President Joe Biden has nominated a highly decorated Marine officer who has been involved in the transformation of the force to be the next Marine Corps commandant.

USS Arizona
Profile of a Ship: USS Arizona

When the USS Arizona sank, it took 1,177 crew members with it. Today it remains beneath the water as a memorial to all those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor.

b1 bombers bosnia
US Bombers Fly Over Bosnia in Sign of Support Amid Continued Secessionist Threats

A pair of U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew low over Sarajevo and several other Bosnian cities...

SR-71 Blackbird
SR-71 Blackbird: The Spy Plane That Could Outrun Missiles

Lockheed Martin’s SR-71 Blackbird was a government secret for years. Now retired, a newer version plans to take its place.

medal of honor recipient remains returned
Missing 73 Years, Medal of Honor Recipient's Remains Return To Georgia

Soldiers of the 9th Infantry Regiment made a desperate retreat as North Korean troops closed in arou...

dear jack
Dear Jack: My Battalion Is Out of Control

In this installment of “Dear Jack,” Marine veteran and amateur life coach Jack Mandaville advises a lieutenant colonel on how to restore order in the lower ranks.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved