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Paralympian Profile

Dame Sophie Pascoe DNZM #166

Sophie Pascoe 2021
Dame Sophie Pascoe

The standard-bearer for Para sport in New Zealand, Dame Sophie Pascoe is a national treasure. She is an eleven-time Paralympic gold medallist and multiple World Champion in Para swimming. At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Sophie won four medals – taking her total tally to 19 Paralympic medals. This has now made Sophie the most decorated and successful New Zealand Paralympian ever!

A below the knee amputee following a lawnmower accident aged two, Sophie first revealed her future ability competing the at the CCS Independence Games when Paralympians Roly Crichton and Graham Condon impressed by Sophie’s potential asked her to join the QEII Swim Club.

From there, the Kiwi star made rapid progress bagging a bronze medal on her international debut aged just 13 at the IPC Swimming World Championships in South Africa. It was this performance which “fast-forwarded“ her career and just two years later she surprised many to truly emerge on the international stage by securing three gold and one silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games

Suddenly thrust into the public spotlight, the Halberg award-winning Sophie has continued to flourish. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the Christchurch swim sensation bagged three gold and three silver medals. She continued her success at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, winning three gold and two silver including a World Record time of 2.24.90 in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM10.

Sophie Pascoe makes national history: greatest Paralympic moments of the decade

In 2018 Sophie had the honour of being selected as the flagbearer for the New Zealand Commonwealth Games Team on the Gold Coast. She then went on to win two gold medals in the pool.  

Sophie’s legacy continued to grow at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games where she completed a famous four-peat by claiming her fourth consecutive gold medal in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM9. Following the race, the champion said that “you have just witnessed my last ever 200 IM. I will be cutting the events down now, so it is nice to finish on a positive and with a gold“.

Sophie claimed further medals with gold in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S9, silver in the Women’s 100m Breastroke SB8 and bronze in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S9.

Sophie was also named as Hāpai Kara of the New Zealand Paralympic Team, a fitting acknowledgement to the leadership and inspiration Sophie provides to her fellow Paralympians and Para athletes.

Sophie was appointed a Dame in the 2022 New Year’s Honours for her services to swimming. She is the youngest person to be awarded the title.

Dame Sophie was part of the NZ Team at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, winning gold in the 100m freestyle S9.

Paralympic Results
Paralympic GamesResult
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
  • Gold - Women's 200m Individual Medley SM9

  • Gold - Women's 100m Freestyle S9

  • Silver - Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB8

  • Bronze - Women’s 100m Backstroke S9

Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
  • Gold – Women’s 200m IM SM10 (World Record)

  • Gold – Women’s 100m Backstroke S10

  • Gold – Women’s 100m Butterfly S10

  • Silver – Women’s 50m Freestyle S10

  • Silver – Women’s 100m Freestyle S10

London 2012 Paralympic Games
  • Gold and World Record - Women's 200m Individual Medley SM10

  • Gold and World Record - Women's 100m Butterfly S10

  • Gold - Women's 100m Freestyle S10

  • Silver - Women's 50m Freestyle S10

  • Silver - Women's 100m Backstroke S10

  • Silver - Women's 100m Breaststroke SB9

Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games
  • Gold - Women's 100m Breaststroke SB9

  • Gold - Women's 200m Individual Medley SM10

  • Gold - Women's 100m Backstroke S10

  • Silver - Women's 100m Butterfly S10

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    • Hometown: Christchurch

    • Born: 8 January 1993

    • Eligible Impairment: Limb deficiency

    • Health Condition: Left below knee amputee

    • Coach: Brett Naylor

    • Classification: S9, SB8, SM9

    • Games Year: Tokyo 2020, Rio 2016, London 2012, Beijing 2008

    • Medals Won: 11 Gold, 7 Silver, 1 Bronze

    • Para Sport: Para swimming

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