Serio leads Team USA to basketball Paralympics gold
- Steve Serio
- Paralympians Made Here
- Kinesiology and Community Health
- College of Applied Health Sciences
- University of Illinois
If this was his final Paralympics, Steve Serio went out on top.
Serio, the College of Applied Health Sciences alum, had 28 points to lead Team USA to a fourth-quarter rally and a second consecutive gold medal in a 64-60 win over host Japan on Sunday in the men's wheelchair basketball finals at the Paralympics in Tokyo.
In a back-and-forth final that featured five ties, three lead changes and no lead of greater than eight points, USA trailed 56-51 with five minutes 39 seconds left but scored the next eight points to take control of the game and hold on for victory.
Serio, who earned his degree in kinesiology, led USA with 28 points and nine assists, including several clutch shots during the fourth-quarter comeback.
“Japan was the Cinderella story of this tournament, but you couldn’t ask for a more storybook ending for us,” Serio said.
“We didn’t get the start we wanted, but we definitely got the finish we wanted.”
After the game, Serio said this—his fourth Paralympic Games—might be it.
“This is more than likely going to be my last Paralympic Games. I can’t think of a better exclamation point on an incredible journey," he said. "I definitely want to continue in the Paralympic movement but the impact I can have off the court is more important than the impact I can have on it.”
On the women's side, the United States was too strong for Germany, winning 64-51, to earn the bronze medal. Ali Ibanez and Kaitlyn Eaton represent the Illini for Team USA.