2012 Australian Paralympic Team portrait of Fearnley
|Full name||Kurt Harry Fearnley|
|Born||23 March 1981|
Cowra, New South Wales
|Height||1.4 m (4 ft 7 in)|
|Weight||50 kg (110 lb)|
Kurt Harry Fearnley, AO (born 23 March 1981) is an Australian wheelchair racer, who has won gold medals at the Paralympic Games and 'crawled' the Kokoda Track. He has a congenital disorder called sacral agenesis which prevented fetal development of certain parts of his lower spine and all of his sacrum. In Paralympic events he is classified in the T54 classification. He focuses on long and middle-distance wheelchair races, and has also won medals in sprint relays. He participated in the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games. Fearnley finished his Paralympic Games career with silver and bronze medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. He won a gold and silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and was the Australian flag bearer at the closing ceremony.
Fearnley was born on 23 March 1981 in the New South Wales town of Cowra as the youngest of five children. He was born with sacral agenesis; he is missing certain parts of his lower spine and all of his sacrum. At the time of his birth, doctors did not believe he would live longer than a week. He grew up in the small New South Wales town of Carcoar. At school, he took part in all sports including athletics and rugby league. He won his first athletics medal in the high jump. He took up wheelchair racing at the age of 14 and took it to an elite level at the age of 17.
After leaving Blayney High School, he moved to Sydney to train and start a Bachelor of Human Movement degree. He lives in Newcastle and is a teacher. He is 1.4 metres (4 ft 7 in) tall and weighs 50 kilograms (110 lb).
In 2010, Fearnley married Sheridan Rosconi at Glenrock Lagoon. Fearnley and Rosconi met while studying at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, New South Wales. Their first son, Harry, was born in 2013 with a second child, a daughter Emilia born in 2017.
In 2014, his autobiography Pushing the Limits: Life, Marathons & Kokoda was published.
In 1997, Fearnley was a member of the Western Region Academy of Sport and by the 2000 Sydney Paralympics was representing Australia. At these Games, Fearnley won two silver medals in the 800 m and 4×100 m relay events. He also represented his country in the demonstration sport of Men's 1500 m wheelchair, where he came 4th. He went to the 2002 IPC Athletics World Championships in Birmingham, England and finished 7th in both the 400 m and 800 m T54 events.
At the 2004 Olympic Games, he finished 5th in the demonstration sport of Men's 1500 m wheelchair. Following this he won two gold medals in the 5000 m T54 and marathon T54 events at the 2004 Athens Paralympics, for which he received a Medal of the Order of Australia. At the 2006 IPC Athletics World Championships in Assen, Netherlands, he won three gold medals and one bronze medal. Participating in his third Paralympics in Beijing, he won a gold medal in the marathon T54, two silver medals in the 800 m T54 and 5000 m T54 events and a bronze medal in the 1500 m T54 event.
On 30 September 2009, Fearnley conducted a training climb of Sydney's Centrepoint Tower's 1,504 fire stairs in 20 minutes, taking them two at a time. While far short of the 6m 52s record for the annual charity climb (Sydney Tower Run-up), the Tower's manager said this was quicker than the 25 minutes required by most able-bodied people. In 2009, he won his fourth New York City Marathon title, his third consecutive title in the Chicago Marathon and victories in Seoul, Paris, London and Sydney. In November 2009, Fearnley crawled the Kokoda Trail accompanied by family and friends in support of Movember and Beyond Blue. He completed the 96-kilometre (60 mi) journey in 10 days. In 2009, he was awarded the Young Australian of the Year for New South Wales.
Fearnley is active in advocacy work, and has been an ambassador for the Don't DIS my ABILITY campaign for four years. He was also a 2010 International Day of People with Disability Ambassador. In 2010, Fearnley competed again in the New York marathon, which he came in third. In the same year his image was featured on the medal for the 2010 Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. He also won a gold medal at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games in the 1500 m T54 event.
At the 2012 London Paralympics, he was aiming to be the first person to win three consecutive marathon T54 gold medals. However, he instead won a bronze medal in the Men's Marathon T54 and a silver medal in the Men's 5000 m T54.
Fearnley won a bronze medal in the 1500 m T54 at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games; he had been fighting a virus in the days before the event. In November 2014, he won his fifth New York Marathon men's wheelchair event. After the competition, he stated "That was one of the toughest races of my life" due to the high winds that nearly forced the cancellation of the wheelchair event.
At the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, he finished fourth in the Men's 5000 m T54 and did not progress to the final of the Men's 1500 m T54. He left Doha immediately to compete in the New York Marathon where he finished fifth after crashing at the 12-mile mark. On Australia Day 2016, he won the Oz Day 10K Wheelchair Road Race for the tenth time joining Louise Sauvage as a ten-time winner of this prestigious wheelchair road race.
At his last Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Fearnley won the silver medal in the Men's Marathon T54 and the bronze medal in the Men's 5000 m T53/54. Fearnley indicated he will race in the wheelchair marathon at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and continue to race marathons on the international circuit. At the end of the marathon, Fearnley said: "One of my biggest strengths is that I deal with discomfort better than most."
At the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Fearnley won the gold medal in the Men's Marathon T54 and silver in the Men's 1500 T54. He was given the honour of the flag bearer at the closing ceremony.
Fearnley extensive experience in disability sport had led him to be appointed to several boards.
- Australian Volunteers International 2016-2015  
- Australia Day Council of NSW 
- National Disability Insurance Scheme's Independent Advisory Council 2013–2016 
- International Paralympic Committee Athletes Council 2016– 
- Australian Paralympic Committee 2016–
- Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation 2018– 
- Australian Sports Commission 2019–
- 2004 – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
- 2007 – New South Wales Institute of Sport Athlete of the Year
- 2007 – Western Region Academy Hall of fame inductee
- 2007 – Confederation of Australian Sport Athlete of the Year with a Disability
- 2007 – New South Wales Sports Federation Athlete of the Year
- 2007 – Laureus World Sports Awards finalist
- 2009 – New South Wales Young Australian of the Year
- 2009 – Laureus World Sports Awards finalist
- 2011 – The Age's Sport Performer Award in the Performer with a Disability nominee
- 2014 – Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre Path of Champions inductee
- 2014 – AIS Sport Performance Awards – Sport Personality of the Year
- 2016 – Centennial Park's visitor hub was officially named Fearnley Grounds
- 2016 – Team Captain with Daniela Di Toro – Australian Team at the 2016 Rio Paralympics 
- 2018 – Australian flag bearer at the 2018 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony
- 2018 – Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to people with a disability, as a supporter of, and fundraiser for indigenous athletics and charitable organisations, and as a Paralympic athlete.
- 2018 – Sport Australia Hall of Fame 'Don Award' – the award recognises the sporting achievement of the year which has inspired the people of Australia. He was the first athlete with a disability to win the award.
- 2018 – GQ Sporting Legend 
- 2019 – New South Wales Australian of the Year
- 2018 – AIS Sport Performance Awards – ABC Best Sporting Moment of The Year
- 2019 – Kurt Fearnley Scholarship established by Commonwealth Games Australia and the Carbine Club of NSW to assist talented individual Para-sport athletes in NSW. 
- 2019 – Patron for International Day of People with Disability.
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- "Kurt Fearnley creates history with 'The Don' Award as the late Richie Benaud is elevated to Legend on a marvellous night for Australian sport". Commonwealth Games Australia website. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
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