In 1982, at the age of 25, Barbara Buchan was competing for a spot on the U.S. cycling team when a horrific accident shattered her skull and left her in a coma for two months. Doctors didn't think she would survive, and even when she woke up they said she may never speak or walk again. But Buchan struggled through six years of painful rehabilitation determined not just to walk, but to compete in cycling again. Yesterday, at 52, Buchan finally fulfilled her dream of winning a gold medal, breaking a world record in the individual 3,000 meter cycling pursuit at the Paralympics in Beijing. Though she still has trouble reading and speaking and coordination problems in her arms and hands that make shifting gears difficult, she has built up her leg strength and endurance to compensate, and relies on her team mates to help tighten bolts and tweak her bike before races. It's an incredible comeback and she's still not done - Buchan will race again in Beijing on Friday in the 25-kilometer road time trial. [NY Times]
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