Greg Smith (Paralympian)
2012 Australian Paralympic Team portrait of Smith
|Full name||Gregory Stephen Smith|
19 August 1967 |
|Disability class||T51, T52, 2.0 (Wheelchair rugby)|
Gregory Stephen "Greg" Smith, OAM (born 19 August 1967) is an Australian Paralympic athlete and wheelchair rugby player who won three gold medals in athletics at the 2000 Summer Paralympics, and a gold medal in wheelchair rugby at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, where he was the flag bearer at the opening ceremony.
Smith was born on 19 August 1967 in the Victorian city of Ballarat. He broke his neck in a car accident in 1987 while he was a physical training instructor with the Australian Army. The accident left him with little movement from the chest down. He went through one and a half years of gruelling rehabilitation but his life became active again in 1988 after another patient lent him a racing wheelchair.
Smith won a gold medal in the men's 4x100 m T1 at the World Championships and Games for the Disabled in Assen, Netherlands. He then began his long Paralympic career with a silver medal in the men's 4x100 m relay TW1–2, and bronze medals in the men's marathon TW2 and the men's 4x400 m relay TW1–2 at the 1992 Barcelona Games. He also competed in the men's 800 m, 1500 m and 5000 m TW2 events. In 1992, he held a scholarship with the Victorian Institute of Sport in athletics. That year, he finished fourth in the 10km road race at the 1992 Oz Day race. In 1995, he was awarded an Australian Institute of Sport Athletes with a Disability non-residential scholarship which he held until 2000.
At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Smith won a silver medal in the men's 5000 m T51. He also competed in the men's 400 m, 1500 m and marathon in T51 events. Smith won three gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Games in the men's 800 m T52, men's 1500 m T52 and men's 5000 m T52 events, for which he received a Medal of the Order of Australia. He also competed in the men's marathon T52. At the 1998 IPC Athletics World Championships in Berlin, he won four gold medals in the men's 800 m, men's 1500 m, men's 5000 m and the men's marathon.
Wheelchair Rugby career
Smith retired from wheelchair athletics in 2002. After a two-year break, he took up wheelchair rugby socially and at the end of his first season he won the New South Wales State League Most Valuable Player Award and the National League Best New Talent. In 2006, he represented Australia for the first time in wheelchair rugby at the Canada Cup International Tournament. He was a member of the Australian mixed team that won the silver medal in wheelchair rugby at the 2008 Beijing Games . After Beijing, he retired as a player but continued as an assistant coach. He came out of retirement in 2010 and was re-selected to the Australian squad in 2011. He was the Australian flag bearer at the 2012 London Games, and was part of the team that won the gold medal. He retired after the Games but still has an active interest in the sport.
- OAM, 2001
- Australian Team Flag Bearer at 2012 Summer Paralympics
- Honorary Doctorate, University of Ballarat, 2013
- "Smith, Gregory Stephen". It's an Honour. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
- Xth Paralympic Games Atlanta U.S.A. August 15–25 1996 : Australia : team handbook. Sydney: Australian Paralympic Federation. 1996.
- "Greg Smith Profile". Australian Paralympic Committee Website. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
- World Championships and Games for the Disabled – Athletics Results. Netherlands: Organising Committee. 1990.
- Results for Greg Smith from the International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
- Barcelona Paralympics 1992 : Australian team members profile handbook. Glebe, New South Wales: Australian Paralympic Federation. 1992. 20779.
- Excellence : the Australian Institute of Sport. Canberra: Australian Sports Commission. 2002. ISBN 1-74013-060-X.
- "Australian Honour Roll". Australian Paralympic Committee Annual Report 2010. Australian Paralympic Committee: 10. 2010.
- "Track and Field Achievements". Australian Sports Commission.
- Brine, Dominic. "Not just sitting on his bum". ABC Ballarat, 11 September 2008. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
- "Paralympians told to 'look up at the stars'". ABC News. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Mixed Wheelchair Rugby – Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby". Official site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- "Dr Smith in a class of his own". Australian Paralympic Committee. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.