Altitude gives wheelchair racer attitude

October 7, 2009
photo - Joshua George, of Fairfax, Va., took first place in the wheelchair division at the 2003 Chicago Marathon. He hopes to win the race for a fourth time Sunday. Photo by AP PHOTO
Joshua George, of Fairfax, Va., took first place in the wheelchair division at the 2003 Chicago Marathon. He hopes to win the race for a fourth time Sunday. Photo by AP PHOTO 

An accomplished wheelchair racer, Joshua George has plenty to show for his triumphs in short and middle distances — four Paralympic medals, four world titles and a world record in the 800 meters. Not bad for someone who considers the marathon his marquee event.

George spent the past month in Colorado Springs, determined to build his endurance and fine-tune his racing strategy for Sunday’s running of the Chicago Marathon, an event he thinks could spark new life into an unsteady long-distance career.

He has won the wheelchair division three times in Chicago, most recently in 2006, but he failed to finish in the top five the past two years, stymied by a big international field, and he stumbled to a 17th-place finish at the Paralympic marathon last year in Beijing.

Nine-time Paralympic medalist Kurt Fearnley of Australia enters Chicago as the favorite, having won the past two years. If George, 25, of Fairfax, Va., completes the flat course in less than 90 minutes, he might give Fearnley a fight.

George said, “It’s going to depend on the way the race works. If you’re racing in the lead pack, it’s not about the time. It’s about the place. It’s about trying to finish first. … I do better in pack races, so I should be there in the end if everything goes right.”

Fencer bows out

Olympic Training Center fencer Seth Kelsey dropped a first-round match Sunday at the world championships in Antalya, Turkey. He fell to China’s Wang Feng.

Cyclists on podium

Colorado Springs cyclist Mike Creed was the runner-up in the points race last week at the elite track national championships in Carson, Calif. Springs cyclist Ryan Luttrell’s squad placed second in the team pursuit.

Bronzes for skaters

Broadmoor Skating Club members Britney Simpson and Nathan Miller claimed a bronze medal in pairs Saturday at a Junior Grand Prix stop in Dresden, Germany. Broadmoor ice dancers Piper Gilles and Zachary Donohue won a bronze.


OTC bobsledders Steven Holcomb and Curt Tomasevicz start competition Wednesday at a World Cup qualifier in Lake Placid, N.Y. … Springs resident Joey Mantia won the 42-kilometer marathon final last month at the world roller speed skating championships in Haining, China. … A U.S. Anti-Doping Agency conference on anti-doping science ended Monday in Vancouver. … A USA Cycling national talent identification camp starts today at the OTC. … A USA Basketball men’s developmental team camp starts Saturday at the OTC. … Former U.S. Olympic Committee head Jim Scherr will discuss Chicago’s failed bid for the 2016 Olympics during a sports-event conference Wednesday in New Orleans. … The USOC is protesting a trademark application by The Olympian newspaper.

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