Farmington High School grad will try to win her fourth gold

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FARMINGTON — Alana Nichols will try to make history — again — at the 2016 Paralympic Games, which kick off with the opening ceremony Wednesday  in Rio de Janeiro.

The 2001 Farmington High School graduate already has three gold medals and was the first American female to win gold at both the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games.

Now, she'll try to make it four golds as she competes in paracanoe. Another gold would make her the first American athlete — Olympic or Paralympic — to win gold in three different sports.

Nichols qualified for this year's games — her third Summer Games and fifth total — by posting a time of 56.246 seconds in the semifinals of the women’s 200-meter KL2 race at the International Canoe Federation Paracanoe World Championships in May in Duisburg, Germany. KL2 is the classification for athletes with partial trunk or leg function.

The winning time in the final for the ICF Paracanoe World Championships was 53.691 by Great Britain’s Emma Wiggs.

Nichols earned three gold medals during the 2008 and 2010 games.

At the Beijing Summer Games in 2008, she was a member of the U.S. gold medal team for wheelchair basketball. Nichols also won gold in both downhill and giant slalom skiing at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Heats for the women’s KL2 race will be held on Sept. 14, and the event’s semifinals will take place later in the day. The final is scheduled for Sept. 15.

Coverage of the Paralympics is scheduled to air on NBC Sports.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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