Disability: Double below knee limb loss from bomb explosion in Afghanistan
Event at Rio: Paraconoe
· Winning the 2014 ICF Para-canoe World Championships almost two years to the day he lost his legs
· Representing Australian at the 2014 Invictus Games where he won a silver and bronze in swimming
Curtis McGrath is an Australian paracanoeist. At 24 years old, Curtis was serving as an Australian Army combat engineer in Afghanistan when an improvised device exploded beneath him. The IED explosion caused multiple life threatening injuries, including the loss of his left leg below the knee and his right leg at the knee.
As a white water kayaker in high school, para-canoe was a natural choice. He believes his career highlight so far was making his international debut at the 2014 Canoe Spring World Championships in Moscow, finishing the v1 200m event with a gold medal and a world record.
Curtis is now embarking his journey to represent Australia in Para-canoe at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Disability: Right leg limb loss from Cancer (age of two)
Event at Rio: Swimming
Career Highlights: Winning gold in the 4×100 medley relay at London 2012
Ellie Cole is an Australian Paralympic swimmer and wheelchair basketball player. At the age of two, Ellie was diagnosed with a rare tumour that was wrapped around the nerves of her legs. After a round of treatment that did not reduce her cancer, the agonizing decision to amputate her legs was made.
As part of her rehabilitation, Ellie started swimming lessons. Though it was expected to take a year to swim in a straight line due to her new body’s reduction, it took the natural born swimmer just two weeks. She regards winning gold in the 4×100 medley relay at London in 2012 as one of the highlights of her career.
She has been selected to represent the Australian swim team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.
Disability: Paraplegia from operation to remove tumour on his spinal cord
Event at Rio: Wheelchair Tennis
· Winning Paralympic gold at Beijing 2008
· Making the World All-Star Five at the 2010 World Championships
· Winning the 2015 Australian Wheelchair Tennis Open
Dylan Alcott is an Australian wheelchair basket baller, wheelchair tennis player and motivational speaker. Born with a tumor wrapped around his spinal cord, Dylan underwent major surgery at three years old, which resulted in paraplegia.
Currently ranked world number two in his classification, winning Paralympic gold at Beijing in 2008; making the World All-Star Five at the 2010 World Championships; and winning the 2015 Australian Wheelchair Tennis Open are the highlights of his career.
He has been selected to represent Australia in wheelchair tennis at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Disability: Short Stature (hypochondroplasia) from birth
Event at Rio: Swimming
Career Highlight: Getting selected for the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships
Tiffany Thomas-Kane is a Paralympic swimmer. Born with hypochondroplasia, a development disorder causing short stature, her specialist told her parents that swimming was a good sport for her to pursue.
Being born with hypochondroplasia did not stop Tiffany at 13 years old to burst into the international swimming scene, when she won gold in the S6 100m breaststroke at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships with a world record time of one minute, 34.95 seconds.
She has been selected to represent the Australian Swim Squad at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Disability: Lumbar sacral agenesis (missing lower part of spine) from birth
Event at Rio: Wheelchair Racer
Career Highlight: Winning gold in the Athens and Beijing marathons
Kurt Fearnly is an Australian wheelchair racer. Kurt was born with certain parts of his lower spine and all of his sacrum missing, a disability that made doctors believe he would’ve live longer than a week. Kurt’s steadfast spirit saw him go from pushing his wheelchair at school athletics carnival to pushing his chair the last five kilmometres of the marathon at the 2004 Athens Paralympics on a flat tyre.
One of Kurt’s greatest career highlights is winning gold in the Athens and Beijing marathons.
Before every race, Kurt sticks to drinking a double espresso and a litre of sports drink, and eating a banana as pre-competition routine. He’s hoping his gold medal winning formula stays in handy was he aims to win gold for the marathon at Rio 2016.