Louise Sauvage OAM

Paralympic & Olympic Gold Medalist & National Coach

Louise Sauvage is an assistant national coach for the NSW Institute of Sport and a champion in her own right. The winner of nine Gold and four Silver medals from four Paralympic Games, she has been recognised for her outstanding athleticism and extraordinary success as a wheelchair track and road athlete.

One of Australia’s most successful athletes, Louise has changed the perception of elite athletes with a disability and the sports they compete in. She has helped create awareness and acceptance of disability in general.

A fascinating speaker, Louise’s story is unforgettable, inspiring and highly educational for audiences from all walks of life.

More about Louise Sauvage:

At the age of 18, Louise Sauvage began her world domination in the sport of wheelchair track racing, winning three Gold medals and one Silver at the 1992 Barcelona Paralympic Games.

When Louise Sauvage received gold for winning the women’s 800m wheelchair demonstration event in front of 85,000 spectators at the Atlanta Olympic Games, the Australian Flag was raised in first place in the Main Stadium for the first and only time. She went on to defend her Olympic Gold medal in front of 110,000 spectators at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and recorded the fastest qualifying time to compete at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games where she won Bronze in the demonstration race.

In 2002 Louise won Silver in her first Commonwealth Games in the 800m womens wheelchair race – the first international able-bodied event to recognise events for elite athletes with a disability with full medal status. She successfully defended five consecutive IAAF World Championship Gold medals in the 800m women’s wheelchair demonstration race, having won in 1993, 1995, 1997, 2001 and 2003.

Louise has also broken many World Records in distances from 100m to 5000m and to record outstanding victories in some of the world’s most prestigious road races including the Boston, Los Angeles, Berlin and Honolulu Marathons.

Louise has been awarded an Order of Australia medal (1992), the Australian Sports Medal and Centenary Medal. She has been voted Australian Paralympian of the Year in 1994, ‘96, ‘97 & ’98; 1997 Australian Institute of Sport Athlete of the Year and recognised by the AIS as part of its 21st birthday ‘Dream Team’. The Australian Olympic Committee presented Louise with the 1997 International Olympic Committee Trophy ‘Sport For All’ within Australia.

In 1999 the Minister for the Olympics and Paralympics announced the ‘Louise Sauvage Pathway’ at the Olympic/Paralympic site, a life-time recognition of her contribution to Australian sport. In 1999 and 2000, she was announced International Female Wheelchair Athlete of the Year. She was also announced Australian Female Athlete of the Year in 1999. In 2000 she accepted her trophy from sporting legend Daley Thompson following her announcement as World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability at the inaugural Laureus Awards hosted by the World Sports Academy. During the same year Louise carried the Olympic Torch across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and lit the cauldron to signify the start of the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

In August 2004 Louise carried the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch through the streets of Sydney and in September that year, lead the Australian Team and carried our nation’s flag at the Opening Ceremony at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games – Louise’s fourth and final Games. She crossed the finish line in the final race of her illustrious career just as she started her international career – in a personal best time.

Louise completed a Post Graduate in Applied Science (Coaching) and was appointed Assistant National Coach with the National Wheelchair Track and Road Program working with Australia’s future champions.

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