London 2012: Matt Cowdrey, Maddison Elliott – Paralympic swimming
Swimmer Matt Cowdrey OAM holds the record for the most medals won by an Australian Paralympic athlete with 23 medals in total, 13 of them gold. He competed at 3 Paralympic Games – Athens 2004, Bejing 2008 and London 2012. He went on to become a politician and won the South Australian State seat of Colton in 2018.
Cowdrey competed in the S9 classification of the freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and medley swimming events. He was born with part of his arm missing due to a congenital amputation.
This brief segment from the London 2012 Paralympics is a successful example of the tried and tested TV news formula for Olympic coverage of Australian medal wins.
In addition to celebrating Cowdrey’s win the segment also tells the good news story of 13-year-old swimmer Maddison Elliott, who has cerebral palsy, becoming Australia’s youngest Paralympic medallist when she won bronze medals in the women’s 400 m and 100 m freestyle S8 events.
She later bettered this by becoming the youngest Aussie gold medallist as a member of the women’s 4 x 100 m freestyle relay 34 points team. She also won 3 gold and 2 silver medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
The story has all the typical ingredients of an Olympics or Paralympics news story: the thrilling last moments of the events, post-victory celebrations (this time it’s a hug between Ellie Cole and Matt Cowdrey), shots from a medal ceremony and interviews with the jubilant athletes.
It’s a shame that we don’t get a close-up of Cowdrey’s win, or see Maddison Elliott in competition, but the clip still conveys their excitement and the crowd's atmosphere.
Cowdrey was named Australian Paralympian of the Year in 2008. Other winners of the award include Louise Sauvage (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998), Priya Cooper (1995), Michael Milton (2002), Siobhan Paton (2000), Tim Sullivan (2004), Jacqueline Freney (2012) and Dylan Alcott (2016).
Excerpt from Nine News Melbourne, 1 September 2012.
Notes by Beth Taylor