If Cheri Becerra Madsen could have written the script for the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London, she would have written it almost exactly in the manner which it ended up playing out.
The elite wheelchair racer saw herself coming home after enjoying a once in a lifetime family experience. She would have medals around her neck and a sense of accomplishment.
All those things happened. She had been thinking about the London games even before she competed at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil last summer.
London would be the perfect place to bring her family for one more competition on the world stage.
There’s just one thing that was missing from Madsen’s moments in London, that being a gold medal.
She took silver in both the 100 and 200 meters. She had bronze in the 400.
As a matter of fact, that 100 meter race had her just two tenths of a second away from gold.
These are results that any competitor would be proud to own. And Madsen realizes the accomplishment that comes with finishing second and third against the best in the world.
But she wouldn’t be getting second or third if she didn’t really want first.
Madsen, who revived her career after a 13-year break from international competition has been working hard to transform her body into one capable of paralympic gold. She didn’t go into this settling for anything.
And she’s not about to do so now.
Madsen is not willing to say that she’s done racing.
Her body protests, however. Madsen said the training in this final push to London had her receiving a lot of treatment for a sore shoulder and consuming a lot of ibuprofen.
In her 400 meter race in London, the shoulder tightened a lot. The finish could not come fast enough. She gutted out the finish and added to her legacy of toughness.
Rest is what she needs now. And she’s been getting it since returning home from London last month.
“It feels really good not to be sore,” Madsen said.
The thought of racing again is appealing though.
“I still really want a gold medal,” she said. “The hunger for the gold is still there.”
Madsen said she has already had conversations with her coach about the future and has been encouraged not to make any hasty decisions. She’ll rest now and see how her body responds.
Still a medal contender, Madsen could definitely make a difference for Team USA going forward and another chance at gold would be great.
Her family supports whatever decision she ends up making. Reese, Madsen’s eldest daughter, loved the travel and would like to see her mom compete again.
What if this is it though? Well, that wouldn’t be bad either.
Madsen has been to three paralympics. She won gold back in 2000 at the Sydney games and has a slew of other medal finishes.
And London was perfect. Madsen said the schedule allowed for a lot of sight-seeing adventures to historic places. On the track, Madsen said she was happy to have her family supporting her at the races. The crowds were awesome, some of the best she has seen in her career for sure. The fans were knowledgeable and passionate. Madsen said it was fun to interact with them.
And Madsen got to be part of a Team USA sweep in the 200 meters by splitting the famous McFadden sisters, Tatyana, who took first, and Hannah, who got third. This was Madsen’s first sweep experience.
As finishes go, this chapter of Madsen’s story would close a career out quite nicely.
The career isn’t officially over, however. So don’t close that book just yet.