Though she came into the race as the defending champion, Seely wasn’t a clear favorite to win. A series of health challenges prevented her from competing for nearly two years while she spent months in and out of the hospital. Seely earned her spot on the U.S. Paralympic team after finishing second at the America’s Paratriathlon Championship in Wisconsin at the end of June – her first race back this year.
With temperatures hovering near 28 degrees Celsius, Japan’s Yukako Hata was the first out of the water following the 750-meter swim. Seely was fifth, 52 seconds behind the race leader. After a quick transition, the American hit the bike leg in third place aboard her Liv Avow Advanced Pro bike with a CADEX Aero WheelSystem.
Seely’s Team USA teammate Hailey Danz rode into the lead on the 20.2km bike leg. Heading into the second transition, Seely was about a minute and a half back in fourth place. She was unstoppable on the 5km run, closing in on the race leader until she took the lead on the last of four laps. Seely continued to push the pace, finishing 55 seconds ahead of Danz with a time of 1:14:03.
“I’m just so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be here and make a dream come true,” Seely said. “I said, the day of Rio, that a gold here was the goal. There’s been so many ups and downs, and to be able to actually pull off that goal has been absolutely incredible.”