Australia

Darren Hicks’s gold an ‘absolute dream’ as post-tragedy turnaround continues

Darren Hicks has had to contend with a great deal more than cycling rivals in recent years, and the former truck driver turned Paralympic champion was briefly lost for words after claiming his first gold medal in Tokyo. 

“I’ve got nothing right now. It’s incredible,” a breathless Hicks told Channel 7 after the race.

“I just went out and executed the plan.”

Hicks, who last week claimed silver in the men’s C2 3,000m individual pursuit, today won the C2 time trial — the first road cycling event of the Paralympic Games.

The para-cyclist stormed home in a time of 34:39.78 — more than a minute and a half ahead of his nearest rival, Belgium’s Ewoud Vromant, who took silver.

In August 2014, Hicks was involved in a deadly road accident at the base of Adelaide’s South Eastern Freeway.

He was driving a truck when the vehicle’s brakes failed, causing the vehicle to flip and then smash into cars.

Two people died in the crash, while Hicks broke his C2 vertebra and had part of his right leg amputated.

After initially being charged over the collision, he was cleared in 2018 when the widow of one of the victims publicly backed him.

Hicks last week claimed silver in the men’s C2 3,000 metres individual pursuit.(

Getty Images: Kiyoshi Ota

)

The 36-year-old today became emotional, fighting back tears when reflecting on his journey over the past seven years.

“It’s an absolute dream to hear the anthem. It’s a dream to know that I’ve helped add to our medal tally,” Hicks told Channel 7.

“I knew that I had a pretty solid last lap as well, so I felt confident and, either way, I was so happy with the ride that a fist pump was worthy.

“Holy dooley. It still hasn’t sunk in yet but couldn’t be happier.”

He also had a message for his wife Carys, who was watching on from home.

“Sorry to stress you out babe but we got there,” he said.

“We had a quick chat when I was cooling down in the ice bath and I didn’t really have much to say at that point. Just glad that she got to watch it.

“I know how much it means to her — as much as it means to me. It’s pretty cool to share that with her.”

Despite his elation, his focus has already turned to trying to secure more glory in the men’s C2 road race — an outcome that would “be a dream”.

“We’ll celebrate when we get home. I don’t know how well I’m going to do in the road race but I feel like I have every chance,” he said.

“We’ll recover, we’ll work out a plan and we’ll attack Thursday.”


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