Beijing 2008: Ben Austin – Paralympic Swimming
Ben Austin OAM is an Australian Aboriginal elite sportsperson with a disability. His events include the 50 and 100m freestyle, 4 x 100m relay, 100m butterfly and the 200m medley and his classification is S8 (he is an above-elbow amputee).
Born in Wellington, New South Wales, Austin started swimming when he was 5 years old.
He competed in 3 Paralympics from Sydney 2000 to Beijing 2008 where he won a total of 10 medals, 3 of them gold.
This excerpt from a Prime 7 News Orange story broadcast on 9 January 2009 profiles Austin’s move back to his hometown and his upcoming decision about whether to compete at the next Commonwealth Games.
Austin did go on to compete at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games where he won a gold medal in the 100m freestyle.
The story makes good use of footage of Austin and his relay teammates Matt Cowdrey, Rick Pendleton and Peter Leek winning gold in the 4 x 100m medley 34 points relay at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.
Voice-over of Austin talking about what an amazing experience it was nicely complements the iamges of the team stepping up to accept their gold medals.
Other prominent Indigenous Paralympians include Peter Kirby, Tahlia Rotumah, Kevin Coombs OAM, Warren Lawton OAM, Tracy Barrell OAM, Karl Feifar OAM and Donna Burns OAM.
Notes by Beth Taylor