Watch CBS News

Para swimmer Alice Tai wins gold just months after leg amputation

British para swimmer Alice Tai won gold at the Commonwealth Games in England on Sunday just months after having her leg amputated. Tai — who clocked a 1:13:64 in the women's 100m backstroke, per CBS Sports — previously said she wasn't sure if she'd be able to compete because of the surgery. 

"I didn't think I would be able to race this season," she told BBC Sport. "I'm so grateful that Team England let me come here and compete."

This is her second win in the Commonwealth Games, a competition between members of the Commonwealth of Nations. 

Tai, 23, won gold at the Paralympics as part of a relay in Rio, but withdrew from Tokyo due to an elbow injury. 

"I started and ended last season with surgery and I had to pull out of Tokyo. I then had an amputation in January. I have been learning to walk again this year," Tai told Swim England. 

Tai was born with bilateral talipes, also known as clubfoot, BBC Sport reported. The outlet said she had multiple operations as a child and had been required to use crutches as a mobility aid. 

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games - Day Three
England's Alice Tai celebrates after winning the Womens 100m Backstroke S8 Final at Sandwell Aquatics Centre on day three of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.  Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images

She decided to have her right leg amputated below the knee in January due to the pain and discomfort, BBC said. 

"I knew if I had the amputation I would have a better quality of life if it went well. It made sense and it was the right time, she told BBC's Access All podcast

"As a Paralympian, I see amputees all the time with varying degrees of mobility but I know for everyone else it was a big deal," she added. 

She told the BBC that she thinks her times will improve after the amputation because her stroke is more efficient. Now, she's focused on the next Paralympic Games.

"I won relay gold in Rio which is awesome but I really want an individual title in Paris in 2024," she said. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.