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ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Erik Horrie had a truly eventful Games campaign when he competed at his first Paralympic Games in London. The day after his first heat, he suffered a seizure which saw him admitted to hospital. Having made a promise to himself years earlier that he would race and win a medal in London, he pushed on and made the final, where he won silver and then learnt the news that his fianceé had given birth to a baby boy.
When he was 21, Horrie was involved in a car accident that left him with paraplegia. He began to play wheelchair basketball and in 2009 he made his debut for Australia and with the Rollers won gold in a World Cup qualifier and gold at the 2009 IWBF Oceania Championships.
He made the transition to rowing in 2011 when he won a bronze medal in the single sculls at the World Championships in his first year in the sport. Since London, Horrie won back to back World Championship titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and represented Australia in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games where he picked up another silver medal in the PR1 (Arms and Shoulders) Men’s Single Scull.
The Penrith local, who originates from the Gold Coast in Queensland, is currently studying Youth Work and Public Speaking. In 2017, he was named in the Australian Rowing Team for the 2017 World Rowing Championships, competing in the PR1 Men’s Single Scull. At the event, Horrie went on to win his fourth World Championships title and set a new World’s Best Time in the 2000m distance.
In 2018, Horrie again went from strength-to-strength, winning his fifth consecutive World Rowing Championships title. The para-rower didn’t lose a race in 2018, set a new World’s Best Time and became the first Australian rower to win five consecutive World Championship titles.