Michael Brannigan12 November 1996 East Northport, NY, USA
- LATEST TRIUMPHS:
- London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships – gold: 800m and 1,500m T20; silver: 5,000m T20
- Rio 2016 Paralympics: gold (1,500m T20)
- Doha 2015 World Championships: gold (1,500m T20), silver (5,000m T20)
Brannigan has undoubtedly become the man to beat in men’s T20 middle-distance racing.
The American – known as Mikey – was diagnosed with autism at three-years-old and competes in the T20 class for intellectually impaired athletes, having taken up running aged eight through the Rolling Thunder Special Needs Program in, New York, USA.
In August 2016, he ran a 3:57.58 mile at the 2016 Sir Walter Miler in the USA, shaving nearly six seconds off his previous best and breaking the four-minute mile barrier for the first time.
One month later, Brannigan won Paralympic gold in Rio, controlling the 1,500m from start to finish and crossing the line in 3:51.73.
In February 2017 he broke the 1,500m T20 world record, clocking clocked 3:45.50 en route to finishing seventh in the prestigious Invitational Men’s Mile race at the Millrose Games in New York, USA. Two months later he lowered the 5,000m T20 world record to 14:09.51 too.
By the time the London 2017 World Championships came around, Brannigan was one of the key favourites for gold, and he duly delivered – not once, but twice, with an equally impressive silver in the 5,000m as well.
In the 1,500m, Brannigan pounced with one lap to go, leaving the field in his wake as he safely defended his world title in championship record time (3:53.05). A few days later, Brannigan added gold in the 800m (1:54.24), racing to the front with 200m to go.
He was named Sports Illustrated High School Athlete of the Month for February 2015, while in 2017 he was named Team USA’s Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year.
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