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Lora Fachie MBE is a renowned para-cyclist with an incredible career competing on the world stage, in multiple para-cycling disciplines, since 2009.

Lora Fachie, Paralympic cyclist, with her sighted partner and their gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

©SWPix

Early life

Born on 4th September 1988 in Liverpool, Lora Fachie (nee Turnham) is one of four children, all of whom are visually impaired because of a hereditary condition.

Lora lost her sight at the age of five but could still perceive light. She recalls growing up, how her parents, who also both have visual impairments, always encouraged them to do what they were interested in.

And although we’ve, you know, been born with a visual impairment, our parents have never stopped us from doing anything. And they’ve always encouraged us to take part in sport.

Having taken a break from sport after secondary school, where she was a competitive runner, even taking the 1500m sprint record from her mum and later goalball player (read more about goalball), she became interested in cycling after watching the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games while studying Physiotherapy at Birmingham University.

Listening to the commentary of the tandem cyclists in particular really stood out, I thought it looked amazing, but I had no idea how to get into it.

By chance, a few months later, a friend of Lora's mentioned Neil Fachie who, after competing in Beijing as a visually impaired track athlete, had changed to tandem racing.

I grabbed my chance and asked her to find out how he got involved. One thing led to another and two weeks later I was on my first tandem ride in Birmingham.

It is safe to say that Lora was a natural, having made it to international stage in her first season, competing and medaling in her first Road World Cup in 2009 with pilot Rebecca Rimmington. 

Life as a Paralympic athlete

Lora’s sporting career is perhaps best exemplified by her involvement in the Paralympic Games.  Over the course of three Paralympic performances, which began in London 2012, continued with greater success in Rio 2016, went on to a near perfect Tokyo 2020, and will perhaps culminate in a resounding Paris 2024, she has won a total of two gold, one bronze and one silver Paralympic medals.

Lora’s most recent Paralympic Games were those of Tokyo, the 16th edition of the Games.  The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, delayed until 2021 because of the Covid19 pandemic, were unlike any seen before, with complex regulations put in place to ensure the safety of athletes, coaches, volunteers, and the public.  For many athletes, like Lora, this meant that they were unable to arrive early and acclimate to the region or have live audiences to cheer them on while they competed.  However, Lora’s husband, Neil Fachie, who she married in October 2016, was also competing in Tokyo so they were able to cheer each other on as they both went on to defend world records and win gold, doing so within hours of each other.  

Lora recounts after her race seeing her husband:

It was nuts. I kind of said ‘We did it!’ And then burst into tears.

Paralympic cyclists, Lora and Neil Fachie celebrating both winning gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Lora and Neil Fachie with their gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games ©SWPix

Lora’s Tokyo 2020 gold medal B 3,000m pursuit race can be seen on Channel 4 Sport

Achievements and awards

Paralympic Games

At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Lora, with pilot Fiona Duncan, competed in four events, the Women's 1 km Time Trial B, Women's Individual Pursuit B, Women's Road Race B and Women's Time Trial B.

Competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with pilot Corrine Hall, saw Lora win gold and break the world record in the Women's 3000m Individual Pursuit B and a bronze in the Women's Time Trial B on the road.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games saw Lora and Corrine take gold in the Women's 3,000m Individual Pursuit B, setting a new world record of 3:19.483, and bronze in the Time Trial B.

Other sporting events

Lora and Rebecca Rimmington won medals at World Cup events in 2009 and 2010

In 2011, with new pilot Fiona Duncan, Lora won her first major medal, a silver at the 2011 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Montichiari, Italy.

At the 2013 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Canada, their first major international event, Lora and Corrine Hall won gold in the time trial and silver in the road race. In 2014 they won another road race world title, bronze in the time trial and double golds at UCI Para-cycling Road World Cups in Spain and Italy. 

Although they won three golds at World Cup level in 2015, they finished out of the medals in the road race and time trial. 

2016 saw them start the season with their first track medal, a bronze in the pursuit at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, going on to win silver in the time trial and road race at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Belgium.

In 2017 Lora, partnered with Paralympic triathlete Hazel Macleod to win silver in the individual pursuit at the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships before resuming her partnership with Corinne with whom she won silver in the time trial at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Emmen, Netherlands resulting in their selection for the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, where they won another silver in the time trial. 

At the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Lora and Corinne won their first world title as a pair, in the individual pursuit, matching their Rio 2016 Paralympic Games success in the same velodrome.

Lora and Corrine won gold in the time trial and silver in the road race at the World Cup opening round in Ostend, Belgium in 2018, going on to compete at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Maniago, Italy where they added two more medals to their collection.

The pair won two more bronze in 2019, for the track pursuit in Apeldoorn and the time trial at the Road World Championships in Emmen, both in the Netherlands before the Covid-19 pandemic halted the 2020 campaign.

The UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Cascais, Portugal saw Lora and Corinne assure their place for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with bronze in the road race, and Lora’s third career gold at the Road World Champs by winning the individual time trial.

Lora’s comprehensive statistics can be found on her athlete profile at British Cycling.

Other awards and recognition

Lora's contributions to cycling were recognised by Her Majesty the Queen when she was awarded Member of the British Empire (MBE) following the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which she accepted with her longtime service dog, Libby.

Interview with Lora

Lora Fachie MBE has competed for Great Britain at the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Paralympics in cycling, winning gold medals at the last two Games. Listen to the interview below or download the transcript.

References 

  • https://paralympics.org.uk/athletes/lora-fachie
  • https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/gbcyclingteam/new/bio/Lora_Fachie
  • https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/aug/28/husband-and-wife-neil-and-lora-fachie-each-win-cycling-gold-at-paralympics
  • https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/other-sports/cycling/lora-fachie-paralympic-games-blind-13320068
  • https://www.paralympic.org/lora-turnham