Paralympian Michael Milton
Winning the double (road race and road time trial) at the 2011 World Championships, winning gold in the 3km pursuit at London 2012
Watching Cathy Freeman win the 400m at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games
Despite having only taken up cycling in 2007, Susan Powell has proven herself to be a seasoned professional on the track and made headlines when she won Australia’s first gold medal of the London Paralympic Games.
Susan claimed victory in the 3km individual pursuit, ahead of fellow Australian Alexandra Green (bronze). With her dad watching on in the crowd, Susan describes the win as one of the greatest moments of her life, followed closely by the silver medal she won days later on the road.
Professional cycling came later in Susan’s life when, at 40 years old, she suffered a seemingly innocuous spinal injury while playing hockey. But it left her with nerve damage and resulted in weakened movement and strength in her right leg. Since then, however, Susan’s meteoric rise to stardom has been as fast her speed on the bike. Even in her first training sessions, Susan’s times nearly broke world records, stunning her coach Glenn Doney.
Susan’s first year of competition was startling, winning the 2009 World Championship in the road race, and national titles in the road race and individual time trial. In 2011, she recorded victories in the individual pursuit, road race and road time trial at the Road World Championships, followed by two silver medals in the 500m time trial and 3km individual pursuit and a bronze in the women’s scratch race at the 2012 TrackWorld Championships.
Fellow Canberra local and Paralympic legend Michael Milton remains a source of inspiration for Susan. He helped her become involved with Paralympic cycling in the first place and helped her in initial training sessions. She enjoys watching the Tour de France each year and extracted great satisfaction from watching Cadel Evans take home the yellow jersey in 2011.