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Paul Bird


Date of Birth: 18 July 1954
Place of Birth: Murwillumbah
City/Shire of Birth: Burdekin
Resides: Gold Coast
Nationality: Australian
Marital Status: Married
Nickname: Feathers/Paulie
Career Highlights:
Paralympics in 1980 - Gold in the 100m Freestyle Relay Paralympics New York 1984 - Silver in 100m Backstroke.

The following information researched by Eliza Bird and Kerry Guistelli from the East Ayr State School.

Early Life

Paul has 6 family members and they are, Mother-Thelma, father-Ken ,four brothers-(Michael, Peter, John, Stephen).

The schools he attended were St John Fishers, Ignatius Park College and Home Hill State High School. He also lived in Bundaberg, Townsville and Ayr and now lives at the Gold Coast.

While he moved around in Queensland he also took part in many sports –Swimming, athletics and rugby league. However his life changed rapidly at the age of 18 when he was injured in a motorbike accident and the doctors had to amputate his leg. It did not stop him from doing the things he loved especially swimming. He was an assistant instructor in a scuba diving club in Townsville for 5 years after his accident, before he decided to have a go at the State Amputee titles in 1979.

In Toowoomba he won a number of events in the pool and the field as well as a place in the state squad. In Sydney he won the National long jump and pentathlon event as well as taking silver medals in discus, shot-put, javelin, butterfly, backstroke and freestyle championships. Paul was a member of the team to visit Holland to compete in the Multi-Handicapped Olympics in 1980.

Sporting Career

Paul enjoyed early successes in sport such as playing for North Queensland Schoolboys in Rugby League. He was a state medallist as a 17yr old in backstroke relay. In his swimming he had several coaches including Peter Tibbs, Laurie Lawrence and Barbara Campbell.

  • He competed in the Paralympics in 1980 and 1984 as an athlete winning gold in four by 100 freestyle relay.
  • He won a silver medal in New York in 1984 for backstroke.
  • His personal best time was 59.8 seconds for 100m freestyle as a Paralympic athlete.
  • From 1988 Paul has been a part of the management team for every Paralympics since then and hopes to go to Beijing in 2008. One of Paul’s favourite memories is being the torch bearer for the Olympics/Para Games 2000 in Sydney.

    Another is leading the Australian team into the stadium in Sydney

    Life Now

    Paul is proud to have been awarded an OAM in 2001 Paul is still involved in his sport now. He is a Board member of the Australian Paralympic Committee and President of the Oceania Paralympic Committee.

    At present he is travelling to meetings of the International Paralympic Committee of the Oceania countries and sites for future Paralympic Games in Beijing and London.

    We would like to thank Paul for answering our questionnaire.




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