Jess Gallagher Summer & Winter Paralympic Medallist

Five inspirational Australian women we can all look up to.


Five inspirational Australian women we can all look up to

By Belinda Jepsen for MAMAMIA


When you think of the word ‘hero’, you probably conjure up an image of some dude in spandex and a cape.

But heroes come in many different guises, from many different parts of the world and pursue many different paths. They can be heart surgeons, mountaineers, mums or musicians; athletes, poets, politicians or, in the case of Disney’s newest heroine, Moana, a young woman on an ancient quest to save her people and realise her destiny.

To celebrate the release of this inspirational new animated film, we’re shining the spotlight on five other incredible women who deserve our attention.

Women who have re-written the history books, who have overcome incredible obstacles, who are who are actively pursuing their goals and inspiring others in the process, women who are changing the world.


Jess Gallagher, Paralympic legend.

Female athletes often excel in more than one sport - it's a strange mix of sheer talent and pay inequity. But few can claim to have pulled on the green and gold in three.

An alpine skier, track-and-field athlete and cyclist, Jessica Gallagher is the only person in Australian sporting history to have won medals at both the Summer and Winter games - Olympic or Paralympic.

As a teenager in Victoria, Jess was also a promising netball and basketball player, but at the age of 17 was delivered the diagnosis that would dramatically change her life: she has Best's disease, a rare genetic condition that ultimately caused her to become legally blind.

She couldn't have known it at the time, but that earth-shattering news would also re-write Australian sporting history forever. Driven and determined, she directed her sporting talents elsewhere and ultimately went on to clinch bronze in the slalom at Vancouver Winter Paralympics in 2010 and then another in the 1km Time Trial cycling in Rio.


To read about the other 4 inspirational women in this piece, Turia Pitt, Ironwoman and burns survivor, Ajda Turkay, foster carer, Alyssa Azar, adventurer and Dr Nikki Stamp, cardiothoracic surgeoncheck out the original article from Mamamia here: