Barney Storey is the world’s best sprint tandem pilot. In 2008 he won double gold at the Beijing Paralympic Games with his stoker Anthony Kappes and in winning the first also lowered the tandem kilometre world record to an incredible 1.02.867, half a second quicker than the previous mark. The 2nd gold came in the tandem sprint event where they qualified fastest in the flying 200m and then beat the Australians 2-0 in the final. All this just 3 weeks after a high speed crash in training where the front wheel of the tandem punctured and Barney had to bring the bike under control from a top speed of 70kph. Avoiding any major injuries, the pair still had to contend with Anthony’s fractured right shoulder blade and Barney’s shoulder and neck soft tissue damage, as well as the loss of a considerable amount of skin!
In the years building up to the Paralympics in Beijing, Barney won double gold in the same two events, tandem sprint and kilometre at both the 2006 and 2007 World Championships. All this was backed up with gold medal success at the Paralympic World Cup’s, National Tandem Sprint Championships and many solo bike events used to enhance his training for the tandem events.
Barney started cycling at the age of 12 as his brother was also racing and it was more fun to take part than stand around watching. In his early years of racing, Barney and his brother were a formidable force in southern counties road racing, with his brother’s endurance and Barney’s talent for sprinting, they could cover most moves in the peleton and began to dominate the regional scene. As the years progressed it became clear Barney should explore his speed on the track and in 2001 after several months of commuting to Manchester to train with the sprint squad and winning the European Championships in the tandem kilometre, Barney moved to Manchester to further explore his dream of becoming the world’s best and ride the tandem full-time.
2002 was a comparably disappointing year with no medals in the World Championships, but with his usual grit and determination, Barney bounced back in 2003 to not only win the National Tandem Sprint Championships but also pick up gold on his solo bike in the Keirin. Internationally was the start of the double gold rush, with Barney winning the tandem sprint and kilometre double for the first time at the European Championships.
Unfortunately 2004 was another disappointing year and despite breaking the tandem kilometre world record in training, a problem with his partner at the Paralympic Games meant Barney finished outside the medals in Athens. The winning combination with Anthony Kappes was discovered in 2005 and since then the pair haven’t looked back. Gold in the tandem sprint in 2005, turned into double gold as the pair added the kilometre and the rest is history!!
Outside of bike racing, Barney has a degree in Building Engineering and is also a qualified Cycling Coach with success at international level through coaching Paralympic Kilometre Champion Jody Cundy to an astonishing gold and world record in Beijing.
Barney is married to Great Britain’s most decorated Paralympic swimmer and cyclist, Sarah Storey, who also won double gold in Beijing and became the first Paralympian to win an able-bodied National Championship title. Barney works closely with Sarah’s coach and has been instrumental in fast tracking her from success in the pool to success on the cycling track and road.
With his experience of the team work required to make the tandem move so fast and also his knowledge of life in the working world, where he was prior to becoming a full time athlete, Barney is able to talk about these experiences and pinpoint the finer qualities required for success in both a team and individual environment. His gentle approach, belies the aggression of his events in cycling and having experienced both extreme success and extreme disappointment, Barney can identify with people and provide insight in how to turn the negatives into positives.
Currently living and training full-time in Manchester at the velodrome built for the Commonwealth Games in 2002, Barney is now looking forward to World Championships in 2009 and the gradual build up to the London Games in 2012. Having just recently started tandem sprinting with Simon Jackson, the former 3 time Paralympic judo gold medallist, Barney now has an exciting future to look forward to as he aims to further his success in tandem sprinting.
Barney was awarded an MBE in the 2009 New Year’s Honours list for his services to disabled sport ansd award he described as one of the biggest honours of his life and one he never thought he would receive.