Anna Currie is the most courageous woman I have ever seen. This 28-year-old
was born without legs. Yet she made a resolution when she was eight years
old that she wanted to swim like other normal people.
So her sister,
Norma, was given the task of teaching her to swim. It was eighteen months
before Anna could float unaided in the pool in the backyard of their home.
Her mother, Phyllis, used to urge her from the side of the pool that she
would one day be able to swim in the Olympics.
Never in their wildest dreams did they think or dare dream that Phyllis'
prophecy would come true. Anna's successes came as early as eleven when she
began winning almost every sprint event in which she entered, smashing
record after record. With her strong arms propelling her, she often left
behind even able-bodied swimmers.
She was only thirteen when she competed in her first international event
in New York where she won a bronze medal. She was the youngest athlete to
win a Paralympic medal. From there, she went on to win more than 100 gold
medals. But her crowning victory came in the Paralympics in Barcelona in
1992. There, she captained the triumphant Australian swimming team. She won
the gold in both the 100 m and 200 m freestyle, setting world records in
both events, won the gold in the 4 x 50 m relay and bronze in the 50 m
Anna says that her success is mostly due to her daily training grind. She
was in the pool at dawn and trained at least three hours, six days a week
for the past ten years. There was a lot of pain but she never once thought
of giving up although she admits she often cried with frustration in the
In 1990, her remarkable successes were recognized when she was given a
Young Achiever's Award. After her Barcelona success, she decided to quit
competitive swimming. A few years later, she met Brenden Brunell and they
tied the knot. She says that marriage has been the greatest of all her
achievements. Anna is a tireless worker promoting the role of disabled
athletes and often talks to community groups. This courageous athlete
continues to be a true inspiration to one and all.