Greg Cochrane #30
Greg was born and bred in Mount Maunganui. Having polio, at the age of 13 Greg was using crutches and considered that using a wheelchair was for disabled people. Two years later, after a knee injury, Greg finally had to use a chair for the first time. Surprisingly, he absolutely enjoyed the freedom that it gave him and never gave the chair back.
Paralympians Reuben Ngata and Doug Moore introduced Greg to Para swimming and led him to his first international competition in 1978. Greg also trained hard in Wheelchair racing where he enjoyed racing faster than able bodied runners.
Greg was then selected to compete at two consecutive Paralympic Games for New Zealand. He made his debut in Arnhem in 1980 where he competed in Para athletics and Para swimming. He then went on to New York and Stoke Mandeville 1984 Paralympic Games in the same Para sports. Both times, Greg won the bronze medal in the 3x50m swimming relay.
Greg is very grateful for his Para sport career, as competition truly helped him express the frustration he felt with his disability. He also particularly enjoyed traveling to foreign countries and meeting overseas athletes. These experiences helped him grow as a person.
Greg played Wheelchair tennis and Wheelchair basketball at a recreational level.
After retiring from competition, Greg worked as a primary school teacher.
Greg lives in Te Awamutu and is supported by his fantastic family and his 19 grandchildren.
PNZ met with Greg in July 2020 when he officially received his ‘numbered’ Paralympic pin as part of The Celebration Project.