Beijing 2008, London 2012
Tim Matthews (coach)
Gold and long jump WR at London 2012; gold and WR in long jump and gold in the 100m at 2011 World Championships
Cathy Freeman winning 400m gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympics
When Kelly Cartwright was 15, she was forced to make a difficult decision when cancer was discovered in her leg. Unable to have chemotherapy, she had no choice but to have her leg amputated, turning her world upside down.
Going through high school, Kelly’s prosthetic leg has created some amusing situations. She says it always sends off the x-ray alarm at airports and after leaving her leg behind at a party, she was shocked to discover it later that night being used as a beer glass. Getting the smell out was difficult.
Growing up Kelly was always involved in sport and before her operation was a promising netballer, winning several best and fairest awards. But no longer able to play netball at an advanced level, she turned her attention to running and soon fell in love with it.
Kelly’s climb to the top of her class in athletics has been a steady one. In 2007, her proudest moment was running for the first time with her proper running prosthesis without falling over. Then in 2008, she competed at her first Paralympic Games in Beijing and finished sixth in the 100m.
In 2009, Kelly moved training squads to be coached by multiple Paralympic gold medallist Tim Matthews. The change proved to be a success with Kelly breaking the 200m world record and the 100m Australian record during the 2009 Oceania Paralympic Championships. Then in 2011, she made her mark on the international athletics scene by winning two gold medals (100m and long jump) at the IPC Athletics World Championships and breaking the world record in the long jump. In 2012, she added two more world records to her name, breaking the 200m world mark at the Adelaide Track Classic and the 100m at the Australian Athletics Championships.
At the London 2012 Paralympics, Kelly cemented herself as one of Australia’s great athletes, jumping 4.38m to win gold in the long jump and silver in the 100m.
Away from the track, Kelly is an ambassador for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. In August 2009, she achieved the extraordinary feat of successfully reaching the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro and in 2012 was voted at number 13 in Maxim magazine’s hottest 100 Australian women. When at home, Kelly loves to cook and chill out with her Burmese cat, who is also an amputee.