Sydney 2000: Louise Sauvage, Siobhan Paton and wheelchair rugby

Title:
Sydney 2000: Louise Sauvage, Siobhan Paton and wheelchair rugby
NFSA ID:
464415
Year:
2000
Courtesy:
Network Ten
Category:
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
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This round-up of the final day of the Sydney 2000 Paralympics from New 10 Perth News, broadcast on 29 October 2000, highlights two of the 'golden girls' of the outstanding 2000 Paralympic team.

Canberra schoolgirl Siobhan Paton OAM was a new face at the 2000 Parlympics and she shot to stardom after winning 6 gold medals. Slow-motion footage of one of Paton's wins underlines her prowess in the pool and the excitement felt around Australia when she won.

Paton has an intellectual disability caused by a lack of oxygen at birth. She took up swimming to assist with her connective tissue disorder and her talent was soon recognised. Interestingly she was coached by swimmer Jacqueline Freney's grandfather.

Sadly the 2000 Games was the only one Paton competed in after a scandal involving the Spanish basketball team in 2000 led the International Paralympic Committee to suspend the participation of athletes with intellectual disabilities from the 2004 and 2008 Games. However many of her swimming records remain to this day.

We see press conference footage of her and wheelchair racing champion Louise Sauvage OAM. Watching Paton's interview it's easy to see why she became renowned for her refreshingly frank and down-to-earth comments.

Powerful footage of wheelchair racer Louise Sauvage OAM – one of Australia’s most successful althletes – competing in the 5000m race showcases both her incredible talent and stamina and the electric atmosphere at Homebush Stadium during the Games.

Sauvage was born with a congenital spinal condition called myelomeningocele which inhibits the function of the lower half of the body. She also has scoliosis. She had more than 20 operations by the time she was 10 years old.

Amongst the honours she has received Sauvage was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2007 and became the first Paralympic sportsperson to be elevated to Legend status in 2019.

Finally, the clip highlights the new sport of wheelchair rugby which made its debut at the 2000 Paralympics. With all its thrills and spills it's easy to see why the sport has become unmissable viewing.

Although not winning this first gold medal, Australia has since won gold medals in the sport at the Games in Beijing in 2008 and Rio in 2016. Players like the talented Ryley Batt OAM are key to Australia's success.