Suburban cyclist wins gold at Paralympics
A local Paralympian has struck gold in London.
Cyclist Joseph Berenyi of Oswego won the gold medal in the 3-kilometer individual pursuit on Friday.
The 43-year-old Aurora native finished with a time of 3:37.912, with less than a second separating him and the silver medalist.
What's more, Berenyi set a world record in the qualifying round with a time of 3:36.148.
He's come a long way since he lost his right arm and left kneecap in a construction accident 18 years ago.
Berenyi underwent multiple surgeries and was told he would have trouble walking again.
And he didn't think about cycling -- an interest of his before the accident -- until neighbors began riding to get in shape and encouraged him to join in.
He started riding again, growing stronger and craving competition.
"I like to go fast," he said in a July interview with the Daily Herald. "After getting back on the bike, I missed what I did back in the early 1990s."
So when the chance to earn a spot on the Paralympic team came up, he took advantage.
"It's the chance of a lifetime," he said in July. "To have my family witness what happens, especially if I win a medal, would be amazing."
Berenyi also competed in the 1-kilometer time trial, where he placed 10th.
• Daily Herald staff writer Robert Sanchez contributed to this report.
Local ParalympiansComing up today
• Tandem cyclists David Swanson (Arlington Heights) and Clark Rachfal in the 1-km time trial.
• Swimmer Alyssa Gialamas (Naperville), women's 200-meter freestyle.
Sunday: Cyclist Joseph Berenyi (Oswego), mixed C1-5 team sprint.
Sept. 5: Berenyi, men's individual C3 time trial.
Sept. 6: Berenyi, men's C1-3 road race.
Sept. 8: Gialamas, women's 100-meter freestyle.