Athletics was the biggest sport at Sydney 2000 Paralympics and the largest component of the Australian team with 70 athletes, of which 11 athletes had an intellectual disability.
Australia finished on top of the Athletics medal tally with 35 Gold, 15 Silver and 16 Bronze medals.
Our star of the track was clearly Lisa Llorens with 3 Gold (200m, long jump and high jump) and one Silver (100m) medal. Lisa was the fourth highest medal tally by an Australian at the Games behind Siobhan Paton (6 Gold), Tim Sullivan (5 Gold), Neil Fuller (4 Gold and 1 Bronze).
Lisa entered the Games as the World record holder in all of her events. Lisa dominated the 200m and long jump events breaking the World record 3 times in the long jump final. In the High jump it was the narrowest of victories – 1cm and in the 100m it was down to the thousands of a second.
Our 2 other gold medals came from Paul Mitchell in the 1500m and Anton Flavel in the Javelin.
Mitchell also the World record holder led his race from the start finishing 6 seconds clear in a time just outside his World record.
Flavel threw 52.50m to win the Javelin by 2 metres from Mexico’s Jesus Lucero.
The Athletics competition started on Day 2 Friday 20 October and concluded on the last day Sunday 29 October. While it is traditional at some Games to have the marathon as the last event, suchj was the enormity of the athletics program that field events were also conducted on the last day. Three athletes Norma Koplick, Madeleine Ehlers and Tanya Krome all competing. Krome was the best placed Australian in 4th place with Koplick 6th and Ehlers 7th. All three also competed in the Javelin where Koplick collected a Silver medal
Sharon Rackham collected a Silver medal in the women’s 200m to add to the Gold medals she won at the 1996 Paralympics 1998 IPC World Championships.
Andrew Newell was our only other multiple medallist collecting 2 Bronze medals in the 100m and 400m events.
Sixteen year old Murray Goldfinch, one of the tallest athletes in the team collected a Bronze in the men’s shot put. Goldfinch would go on to win several World Championships and set the World record for the shotput.
Patricia Flavel (Whittaker) collected a Bronze in the women’s 800m.
Dean Turner competed in the 100m and Long jump events reaching the final of both.
Australia lead the world in Athletics, and while it was largely seen through the athletes performances, it was also a credit to the High Performance program and coaching staff that guided and coached the athletes to this level.
Many athletes talk about the Sydney Paralympics as being the meet where they felt equal with the more fancied and higher profiled Olympians. But for the Australians, they had been treated this way by these coaches and a high performance program that looked on them as elite athletes, not athletes with a disability.
The legacy of this period and these athletes and coaches is seen in the list of athletes that still today hold Australian records.
Lisa Llorens 100m 12.44
200m 25.01 (Current Virtus World Record)
Long Jump 5.43m
High jump 1.55m
Paul Mitchell 800m 1:54.70
Andrew Newell 100m 11.08
Dean Turner Triple Jump 11.90m
Murray Goldfinch Discus 39.60m
Anton Flavel Javelin 53.84m
High Jump 1.69m
Patricia Flavel 400m 61.63
Tanya Krome Discus 35.06m
Norma Koplich Javelin 33.93m
Sydney Paralympics Athletics Results
|Anton FLAVEL (ACT)||Shot Put – Para-Athletics||9||Final 9th 9.25m|
|Javelin Throw – Para-Athletics||1||Final 1st 52.50||Gold|
|Murray GOLDFINCH (ACT)||Shot Put – Para-Athletics||3||Final 3rd 12.22m||Bronze|
|Javelin Throw – Para-Athletics||7||Final 7th 30.57m|
|Paul MITCHELL (WA)||400 metres – Para-Athletics||11||Ht3 4th 52.68|
|1500 metres – Para-Athletics||1||Final 1st 3:57.23||Gold|
|Andrew NEWELL (NSW)||100 metres – Para-Athletics||3||Ht2 2nd 11.08(-0.2);
Final 3rd 11.11(+0.2)
|400 metres – Para-Athletics||3||Ht2 1st 49.77;
Final 3rd 49.33
|Dean TURNER (NSW)||100 metres – Para-Athletics||12||Ht1 3rd 11.48(+0.8)|
|Long Jump – Para-Athletics||8||Final 8th 5.99m(-0.0)|
|Madelyn EHLERS (Qld)||Shot Put – Para-Athletics||7||Final 7th 8.54m|
|Javelin Throw – Para-Athletics||6||Final 6th 21.79m|
|Patricia ‘Trish’ FLAVEL (ACT)||800 metres – Para-Athletics||3||Final 3rd 2:16.68||Bronze|
|Norma KOPLICK (Qld)||Shot Put – Para-Athletics||6||Final 6th 9.01m|
|Javelin Throw – Para-Athletics (F20)||2||Final 2nd 33.93m||Silver|
|Tanya KROME (Qld)||Shot Put – Para-Athletics (F20)||4||Final 4th 10.06m|
|Javelin Throw – Para-Athletics||4||Final 4th 27.08m|
|Lisa LLORENS (ACT)||100 metres – Para-Athletics||2||Final 2nd 12.42(+2.1)||Silver|
|200 metres – Para-Athletics||1||Ht2 1st 26.40(0.0);
|High Jump – Para-Athletics||1||Final 1st 1.54m||Gold|
|Long Jump – Para-Athletics||1||Final 1st 5.43m(+0.9)||Gold|
|Sharon RACKHAM (ACT)||100 metres – Para-Athletics||4||Final 4th 13.21(+2.1)|
|200 metres – Para-Athletics||2||Ht2 2nd 27.34(-0.5);
Final 2nd 26.92(+0.4)
|High Jump – Para-Athletics||7||Final DNS|
|Long Jump – Para-Athletics||8||Final 8th 4.10m(-0.9)|