Celebrate The Big Issue’s sporting superstars who’ve worn the green and gold. Elite athletes Lachlan and Murray achieved greatness at the Paralympics.
1996 Paralympics Atlanta, 2000 Paralympics Sydney, 2004 Paralympics Athens
Winning gold at the Atlanta Paralympics in the men’s T32 100m was the biggest achievement of my life. To this day, I still don’t know how I won the gold medal in the state I was in. I had a headache, and I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent. It could’ve been anyone’s race – but it just happened that I got to the end first – it felt awesome. They presented me with the medal, and I sang as the Australian anthem played. It gave me confidence that anything is possible.
I started racing when I was 18 or 19. Before then, I was with the Special Olympics doing swimming for a little while, but my pelvis started giving out on me, so my parents brought home some information about other sports I might be interested in. I actually did powerlifting for a little while. As much as I hate to admit it, I was Australian champion – a one‑hit wonder – in powerlifting.
Being a Paralympian was a full‑time job. I had a scholarship to the Victorian Institute of Sport. I had to get up early in the morning; I was training six days a week, eating pasta and meat and veg. You have to sacrifice pretty much everything.
After Atlanta, they changed the classification, so I had to race as a T52. I knew I wasn’t going to win in Sydney, but I was in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m. I went to Athens and did a PB there.
I’ve overcome many challenges, like people saying, “Oh no, it’s too dangerous” or “You can’t do this” – they think because I’m disabled I’m going to get hurt, but I’ve proven them wrong.
Lachlan sells The Big Issue in Carnegie, Melbourne, Australia.
Photo by James Braund.
2000 Paralympics Sydney
I was the youngest on the team in 2000 – I was 16 when I went to Sydney for the Paralympics to compete in F20 shot‑put.
Before that I was training every day with the Australian Institute of Sport. It’s a hectic schedule, when they’ve got you on scholarship. They push you. I’ve travelled to Germany, Brazil, Spain, Kuala Lumpur, Argentina – all to compete. I’ve held a world record and won gold at world championships in shot-put and discus.
The Sydney Paralympics was a really good atmosphere, lots of different cultures.
Seeing Kylie Minogue sing at the Opening Ceremony was a highlight. The Whitlams, that was pretty cool. I watched a few events too – murderball, wheelchair basketball. It was a social atmosphere; I got to meet lots of different people.
When I was competing in the shot-put, after about the fourth throw, I thought yeah, I’m doing pretty well, since I had a knee injury about three months beforehand. I got third. Receiving my medal was awesome – I don’t have words to describe it. It was a very good memory. I keep all my medals and trophies locked away, very tight. I’m Australian, and I represented Australia. I loved it.
Murray sells The Big Issue at various locations around Canberra.
Photo by Rohan Thomson.