Wheelchair basketballers Troy 'Wild Thing' Sachs OAM and Jane Sachs (née Webb) are profiled in this excerpt from the Network Ten series Australian Dreams (1999).
Troy, who was is a below-the-leg amputee, represented Australia at 5 Paralympic Games from 1992 to 2008. During his Paralympics career, with his team The Rollers, he won 3 medals – two of them gold. At the 1996 Games gold medal match he scored 42 points – a world record for the number of points scored.
An innovative player and a legend in the sport, he has also played overseas in Italy, Germany, Spain, Turkey and the United States.
Jane represented Australia at 3 Paralympics from 1996 to 2004. She won 2 Paralympic silver medals during her career. Born in Hobart, Jane broke her back when she was 9 years old in an accident. She made her national representative debut in the sport at age 16.
Troy is definitely the focus of this piece and it’s interesting how it juxtaposes his different personas on and off the basketball court. Interview footage – in which he appears mild-mannered and friendly – is intercut with shots from his Atlanta 1996 gold medal-winning performance.
Seeing him on the court it’s easy to understand why he was dubbed ‘Wild Thing’ by his teammates. Elsewhere in the Paralympics curated collection, you can also see him 'going off' during his team's gold medal win at the Beijing 2008 Games.
Troy talks about the quest to have Paralympic athletes recognised and respected for the elite sportspeople they are. The Sydney 2000 Paralympics is acknowledged by many as a turning point for the Games in terms of gaining support from the public, both in Australia and internationally.
The Australian Dreams series tells the stories of 39 Australian athletes in the lead-up to Sydney hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2000. Other athletes profiled include wheelchair racer Louise Sauvage.
Notes by Beth Taylor