Keynote Speakers


Australian athlete Kurt Fearnley is the Marathon Man of wheelchair sports. The two-time Paralympic champion has won all around the world: from New York and Chicago to Seoul, Paris and Sydney, he has conquered the globe. Kurt has raced in 43 marathons with 31 wins and 10 additional podium finishes, including wins in 10 countries on five continents. A three-time Paralympian, he is the winner of nine medals, three of them gold. A six-time World Champion, he was a 2007 and 2009 Laureus World Sports Award Finalist, named Commonwealth Athlete of the Year with a Disability, and 2009 NSW Young Australian of the Year.

Raised in the small country town of Carcoar, Kurt Fearnley has always been determined. Being born without the lower portion of his spine has never held him back, from backyard games of football to crawling along the Great Wall of China, he always has a go.

Turning his attention to wheelchair sports in his teens, Kurt became a world beater. He started his career with two Silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Paralympic games, before making his winning breakthrough at the Athens Paralympics with Gold in the 5000m and marathon races. Following the 2004 games, Kurt conquered the world, winning five world championships and more than 20 marathons around the globe, including 10 marathons in 2007 and three straight New York marathon titles. He solidified his standing as the Marathon Man of wheelchair sports by defending his Gold medal at the Beijing Paralympics and continues to dominate over a range of distances on both the track and road.

Kurt represents a number of organisations and is an ambassador of the Day of Difference Foundation and International Day of People with a Disability, and a board member of Australian Volunteers International. As a qualified Physical Education teacher, he travels throughout NSW teaching high-school children in small and large communities. Kurt’s exploits both in and out of sport recently saw him recognised as the 2009 New South Wales Young Australian of the Year.