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Shelly Woods - Paralympian

Shelly Woods - Paralympian

Born on June 4, 1986 in Blackpool, England, Shelly Woods is a Paralympic athlete representing Great Britain in this year’s upcoming 2012 Summer Paralympic Games in London. This will be Shelly’s second trip to the Paralympics, having won a bronze medal already, so she’s no stranger to the competition. Apart from the Paralympics success, Woods is also a record-setting marathon runner, and hands down one of the top wheelchair races in not only Britain but the entire globe.

Woods is most literally hell on wheels, demolishing the competition when she races, past and present – and possibly even the future. Shelly holds British records in the 400m, the 800, the 1,500, the 5,000, and the aforementioned marathon. And only in her mid 20s, Woods may just be getting started.

Sporting Career

Although the world at large tends to view Paralympians as handicapped individuals while outside of their respective sport(s), this is not even close to being true when these athletes are in the throes of competition. Paralympians are every bit as skilled and as fierce as any other athlete, and onlookers notice it. Shelly Woods certainly isn’t an exception to this rule; she is a prime example of why the rule is in place. After suffering a tragic fall and injuring her spinal cord when she was 11, Woods started using a wheelchair and quickly decided to make lemonade by becoming an athlete.

Wheelchair racing wasn’t Woods’ first option. She would first try basketball, and then swimming, and then ultimately decide that being in her chair and competing was the way to go. With a clear mind as to what she wanted to accomplish, Woods began training and in 2004, while only 18, Shelly began to compete in road races – and win. After two second place finishes in the Manchester Run and Great North Run marathons, Woods took first and in the process set a new course record in the Mini London Marathon.

Road races were Woods’ forte, but she decided to make the leap into track racing, namely the 800, 1,500 and 5,000m races. During her first season as a track racer, Team GB grabbed her up. By the time 2005 arrived, Woods was already a dominate force in the wheelchair racing world, having won the Great North Run.

After winning a bronze medal at the European Championships in the 5,000m event, Woods then went to Los Angeles in 2007 to race a marathon there. She won. She also won the London Marathon, the NYC 10km, and she kept riding hot right into the 2008 Paralympics. Shelly would win a silver and bronze medal in the 1,500m and 5,000m respectively.

By 2009, she was the top-ranked wheelchair racer in Britain, and competing in multiple events this summer, Shelly hopes to best her previous performances and bring home Paralympic Gold.

Career Highlights

  • 1,500m World Record Holder
  • 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m British Record Holder
  • 2004, 5, 6, 11 Great North Run – 1st Place
  • 2005, 9, 10 Great Manchester Run – 1st Place
  • 2008 Beijing Paralympics – Silver, Bronze
  • 2011 IPC World Championships – Bronze
  • 2012 Paralympic Games   - Silver

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