AS Port Lincoln prepares to welcome home Olympic medallist Kyle Chalmers this weekend, another former local has taken to the medal podium in Rio.
Kieran Modra, who grew up just out of Port Lincoln, will soon be bringing home a bronze medal from this year’s Paralympic Games.
And while Chalmers’ surprise gold-medal swim in the 100-metres freestyle at the Olympics was an amazing feat, the most impressive thing about Modra’s achievement is his longevity and commitment.
His latest bronze medal is his 10th Paralympic medal – a tally that includes five bronze and five gold, not to mention the Commonwealth Games and World Championships medals he has earned throughout his career.
Modra has been quietly going about his business at Paralympic Games since Seoul in 1988.
Not just in one sport. He has competed in running, javelin, swimming and cycling.
His latest success, at the age of 44, is yet another amazing achievement to add to his career highlights.
However after the promotion that surrounded the success of our Olympic medallists, it was slightly disappointing to find out how difficult it would be to track down a photograph of Modra and his pilot David Edwards competing in Rio, let alone with their medals.
Not having the resources to have a photographer at the Paralympics, we tried many different avenues without luck.
Even his mum Sylvia Modra, who had stayed up to watch her son race, was disappointed to see the televised coverage stop at 1.30am just as her son’s race was about start.
The publicity around the Paralympic Games has certainly been less than the Olympics and the hype around Australia’s medallists has not been the same as it was a few weeks ago for our Olympic medallists.
Yet medal-wise our Paralympians have had a lot more success.
Modra’s bronze medal was one of 29 bronze medals won by Australian athletes at this year’s games – the same number as Australia’s total Olympic medal tally.
Our Paralympians also won 22 gold and 30 silver medals taking Australia’s total medal tally to 81.
So to Kieran Modra and all our Paralympians, congratulations on doing Australia proud.