Michelle Stilwell is the only female Paralympic athlete to have ever won gold in two separate summer sport events spoke from experience at our monthly meeting on June 6th. Her topic? Be the Best You Can Be
In Sydney, during the 2000 Paralympic games, she and her team won Gold in wheelchair basketball. At the time, she was the only female paraplegic to compete in basketball at the games. After her retirement from basketball competition in 2001 she became involved in coaching young wheelchair athletes, and gave birth to her son Kai in July 2001.
While coaching basketball she met Peter Lawless, a National Team Athletics coach, who encouraged her to try a different sport. By 2005 she was at the European Championships and in 2006 was the 200m World Champion. Stilwell went on to win gold in the 100m and 200m at the Beijing 2008 Summer Paralympics. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games Stilwell defended her Paralympic gold medal in the women’s 200m. Four days later Stilwell captured a silver medal in the 100m.
Members at the meeting were captivated by Michelle’s compelling story of overcoming a devastating injury by focussing on the positive opportunities available to her. She pursues sports, motherhood, and now politics to the best of her ability, and her personal story is an inspiration to us all.