Aussie’s golden summer-winter Paralympic feat
AUSTRALIAN snowboarder Simon Patmore - who only took up the sport a tick over two years ago - has become the first Australian male to medal at both a Summer and Winter Paralympic Games.
Six years after winning silver at the London Paralympics, as a 200m sprinter, Patmore claimed gold in the men's snowboard cross, defeating Italian Manuel Pozzerle in the final.
It was also Australia's first Winter Paralympic gold in 16 years.
Born with Erb's palsy, a disease which paralysed the nerves in his left arm, Patmore had seen snow only once when approached in 2014 by the Australian Paralympic identification team.
And that had been when aged eight.
However, the Queenslander is now only the sixth athlete to compete in both Summer and Winter Paralympic Games, and joins Jess Gallagher as the only other dual medallist.
He is also our first Winter Paralympian to win gold since Salt Lake City, 2002.
That year alpine skiers Michael Milton and Bart Bunting bagged six between them, with the pair taking four and two gold medals respectively.
Yet that drought is now over.
Considered an outside chance to medal at his first games at PyeongChang, Patmore finished the regular competition in third.
He then won three consecutive qualifying finals, where riders battle the mountain in pairs, before scoring what turned out to be a comprehensive win over Italian Pozzerle in the decider.
Able to run 100m in 11.14 seconds, the Aussie also won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, before doubling down with a bronze medal in London.
In what was his Paralympic debut, Patmore ran 22.36, a time which put him just over three-tenths of a second behind the gold medallist, Brazilian Yohansson Nascimento.
The keen skateboarder has now medalled again in his Winter Paralympic debut.