Triathlete, adventurer, and explorer who doesn’t let paralysis stop her from reaching new heights
"Karen Darke, MBE is a British paralympic cyclist, paratriathlete, adventurer and author. She competed at the 2012 London Paralympics winning a silver medal in the Women's road time trial H1-2.
Darke is paralysed from the chest down following an accident, aged 21, whilst sea cliff climbing. In 2006, she took part in an expedition which crossed Greenland's ice cap whilst sitting on skis using her arms and poles to cover the 372-mile crossing. She has also climbed Mont Blanc, Matterhorn and El Capitan and hand-cycled, skied and swam the length of Japan. In 2009, she was a bronze medal winner in the Para-Cycling World Cup after which, in 2010, she became a member of the British Para-Cycling team. She has won two silver medals in the women's H2 road race and time trial events at the 2011 Para-Cycling World Cup whick took place in Sydney.
At the 2012 Summer Paralympics, on 5 September 2012, she won a silver medal in the Women's road time trial H1–2 finishing second to Marianna Davis in a time of 33:16.09. In the Women's road race H1-3 competition, on 7 September 2012, Darke finished fourth. After crossing the finishing line holding hands with team mate Rachel Morris, both in a time of 1:43:08, Morris was awarded the bronze medal.
In October 2012, she competed in her first ITU Paratriathlon World Championships. She won the gold medal in her TRI-1 classification.
In 2014 Darke took a silver medal in the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in South Carolina in the H3 time-trial, following it up with a bronze in the H3 road race.
On 14 September 2016 Darke won the gold medal in the Women's time trial H1-3 at the Rio Paralympics in a time of 33:44:93.
Darke was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to sport." (1)