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Kathryn Ross

A Journey of determination in Para-rowing 


Kathryn Ross's story is one of indomitable spirit, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Her journey in Para-rowing, marked by challenges, achievements, and an unwavering commitment to sport, serves as a beacon of inspiration for athletes around the world. As she prepares for the Paralympic Games in Paris 2024, Ross's journey is a testament to the power of perseverance and the human spirit's ability to overcome adversity. 

Born on 25 June 1981, Ross faced significant challenges from an early age. At just two years old, a tragic accident involving a ride-on lawnmower resulted in the fusing of her right knee and ankle joints. However, this adversity did little to dampen her passion for sport. In 2006, Ross took up rowing, embarking on a journey that would see her become one of Australia's most celebrated Para-rowers. 

Ross's Paralympic debut came in 2008 at the Beijing Games, where she and her partner John Maclean claimed Australia’s first-ever Paralympic rowing medal, a silver in the TA mixed double sculls event. Finishing just behind the Chinese pair, Ross's performance was a groundbreaking moment for Australian Para-rowing and set the stage for her future successes. 

Over the years, Ross has demonstrated exceptional versatility and determination. Following Maclean's retirement, she partnered with several rowers, constantly adapting and striving for excellence. Her relentless pursuit of gold saw her team up with Gavin Bellis, with whom she won consecutive gold medals at the FISA World Rowing Championships from 2013 to 2015. Despite facing disappointment at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games, Ross's spirit remained unbroken, showcasing her resilience and dedication to her sport. 

Tokyo 2020 marked Ross's fourth Paralympic appearance, competing in the PR2 Mixed Double Sculls with Simon Albury. While the duo finished seventh, Ross's participation underscored her status as a veteran of the sport and a role model for aspiring athletes. 

Beyond her athletic pursuits, Ross is deeply committed to advocacy and development within Para-sport. Her aspirations to become involved in talent identification and her dream of setting up a strength and conditioning centre for people undergoing rehabilitation and children with cerebral palsy reflect her dedication to giving back to the community and fostering the next generation of athletes. 

Kathryn Ross's journey is not just a story of personal achievement but a narrative that has contributed to the broader acceptance and recognition of Para-sport. Her efforts on and off the water have paved the way for future athletes with disabilities, ensuring that the legacy of Para-rowing is richer because of her contributions. 

As Ross trials for the Paralympic Games in Paris 2024, her story continues to inspire. It's a reminder of the transformative power of sport and the impact one individual can have in challenging perceptions, pushing boundaries, and inspiring others to pursue their dreams, regardless of the obstacles they may face. Kathryn Ross's legacy, characterised by her determination, resilience, and dedication, will undoubtedly influence the world of Para-sport for years to come.