Today in Transportation History – 1987: The Birth of a World-Class Racing Cyclist

Professional racing cyclist Lee Wai Sze, who also goes by the name of Sarah Lee, was born in the urban area of Kowloon in Hong Kong. Despite being born with anemia, Lee participated in and excelled in athletics at an early age. She eventually developed a strong interest in cycling, and started pursuing that sport on a full-time basis in 2004.

Two years later, Lee’s cycling career nearly came to an end. While she was pedaling along a road as part of her training, she swerved to avoid hitting a dog and suffered a broken left scaphoid bone. Lee rebounded from that serious injury, however, and has since proven to be a formidable racing cyclist in various international competitions.

One of her career highlights took place in November 2010, when she represented Hong Kong at that year’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. Lee earned the gold medal for the women’s 500 meter time trial track cycling event. She won the event with a time of 33.945 seconds, setting a new Asian record in this category as formally ratified by the Asian Cycling Confederation. In addition, Lee won a bronze medal in a Spring track cycling event at the 2010 Asian Games.

The following month, Lee improved upon her gold medal performance in Guangzhou by finishing first in the women’s 500 meter time trial track cycling event at the 2010 Melbourne Track Cycling World Cup in Australia with a time of 3.939 seconds. Lee received a Hong Kong Potential Sports Star Award for her 2010 achievements. Her accomplishments were also officially recognized by the Hong Kong Government, which presented her with the Medal of Honour in 2011.

Lee served as the flag bearer for Hong Kong’s delegation of athletes at the 2012 Summer Olympic s in London, and one of her many other cycling triumphs occurred during those games. Lee won a bronze medal in the women’s keirin, an event in which she and the other track cyclists sprinted for victory while pedaling behind someone operating a motorcycle. Lee’s third-place finish in this event resulted in the first Olympic medal in cycling for Hong Kong and only its third medal overall in those games.

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