5-time Paralympic champion dies after driving into lamppost, flipping his car

Huang Wenpan had cerebral palsy, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a champion swimmer

China’s most decorated athlete from the 2016 Rio Paralympics is dead following a horrific single-car crash in Sichuan province

Local police said that at around 4 pm yesterday, the car that Huang Wenpan (黄文攀) was driving swerved off the road and into a lamppost. In the crash, the 22-year-old appears to have been thrown out of his vehicle as it rolled over on the sidewalk.

He died on the way to the hospital. No one else was injured in the crash.

Huang had cerebral palsy. He took up swimming in 2010, a passion that would eventually lead him to 5 gold medals in Rio, more than any of his compatriots.

“I’m mobility-impaired on land but able to move easily in the water, so swimming gives me new life,” Huang was quoted by Xinhua as once saying.

At the Paralympics, he emerged victorious in the 200m freestyle S3, 50 m breaststroke SB2, 150m individual medley SM3, 50m freestyle S3, and the mixed 4x50m freestyle, setting world records in all of these categories.

He also picked up a silver medal in the 50m backstroke S3.