- Name: Louise Sauvage
- Born: 18 September 1973, Perth
- Motto: ‘You never know what you can achieve until you try’.
- Gold medal winner in Paralympics and Olympics
- Order of Australia medal, 1992
- Australian Athlete of the Year, 1999
- International Female Wheelchair Athlete of the Year, 2000
- Has a catamaran (a racing craft) named in her honour.
One of Australia’s most decorated athletes, Louise Sauvage has won nine gold medals and two silver medals representing Australia in three Paralympics. She also holds two Olympic gold medals and she has won the Boston marathon four times, establishing herself as one of the world’s greatest wheelchair athletes in both track and road races.
Born with a severe spinal disability, as a result of a condition called myelodysplasia, Sauvage had over 20 operations before the age of ten. She has always been a keen sportsperson; she began swimming at the age of three but changed her sport to track events after operations at the age of fourteen to correct curvature of the spine. The steel rods inserted in Sauvage’s back prevented her from continuing with competitive swimming, but she made an amazing recovery and just two years after the operation she was competing in international wheelchair track events.
At sixteen Sauvage competed in her first world championship competition and since then she has had an outstanding career in international athletics. She won two gold medals and a silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics Games and she continued to add to her medal tally in a decade-long winning streak which netted her eleven gold and two silver medals, as well as a number of distinguished international road racing titles.
Sauvage’s outstanding achievements in winning gold medals and gruelling international road races are equalled by her great achievements in raising the status of athletes with disabilities, and helping others to understand that athletes with disabilities should be accorded the professional respect that their athleticism and hard work demand. Louise Sauvage’s courage, athleticism and grit have been an inspiration to people all around the world. Her motto, ‘You never know what you can achieve until you try,’ is brought to life in the Louise Sauvage Aspire to be a Champion Foundation which provides support for aspiring athletes.
- Louise Sauvage, My Story, Harper Sports