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News posted on Saturday 1st January, 2022

Arise, Dame Sophie: Paralympian youngest ever recognised with damehood

Sophie Pascoe 2021

Paralympian #166 Sophie Pascoe has been appointed a Dame in the 2022 New Year’s Honours. At 29, she is the youngest to ever be given the title. The 11-time Paralympic gold medallist and four-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist was recognised for her contribution to swimming.

“I’ve taken this title with absolute pride and honour. I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet.”

Dame Sophie Pascoe, speaking to NewsHub.
TOKYO, JAPAN – SEPTEMBER 02: Sophie Pascoe of Team New Zealand competes in the Women’s Butterfly – S9 heat on day 9 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on September 02, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Minister of Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson told RNZ that there was no doubting her rightful place in the country’s sporting history.

“Sophie has had an astounding career. She made her international debut at just 13 years old and has not stopped performing at the highest level since then. Her determination, talent and total commitment make her a role model for all New Zealanders.”

Minister of Sport and Recreation, Grant Robertson speaking to RNZ.
TOKYO, JAPAN – SEPTEMBER 03: A detailed view as Sophie Pascoe of Team New Zealand poses with all of her medals on day 10 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on September 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Swimming star Pascoe continued her remarkable run as New Zealand’s most decorated Paralympian in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, taking her medal tally to 19, of which 11 are gold.

She has been named Disabled Sportsperson of the Year on six occasions at the Halberg Awards and was named Para Athlete of the Decade in 2020.

Dame Sophie is a vocal advocate for equality for people with disabilities.

“This will hopefully be really impactful in a positive way to people living with a disability. But not only that, to people within the swimming community.”

Dame Sophie Pascoe, on her damehood.

Dame Sophie’s next goal is the Commonwealth Games, which are being held in Birmingham, UK, in July and August 2022.

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