If ever there was a short list of athletes who can claim to have equaled the feat accomplished by Aussie Paralympian Simon Patmore, it is the list of Olympic athletes who have won a medal in both Summer and Winter Olympic competitions.
Patmore recently took the gold medal in Pyeongchang in the men’s snowboard cross.
In the bargain, Patmore secured the first Winter Paralympic gold for Australia in 16 years. He won a bronze medal as a 200-metre sprinter in the 2012 London Summer Olympic games.
Patmore came close to crashing in the gold medal final against Italy’s Manuel Pozzerle, but he credited the good snow conditions for allowing him to stay upright.
“I honestly thought it was over. Thank God it was great snow conditions to keep me up … I just threw it out of my mind and continued to race down,” Patmore said afterward in remarks printed in The Daily Telegraph.
Patmore, a keen skateboarder, made the code hop to snowboarding just three years ago. He is the first Aussie Winter Paralympian to win gold since Michael Milton and Bart Bunting dominated the alpine events in Salt Lake City in 2002.
He is just the sixth Australian to compete in both Summer and Winter Games and the only other dual medallist is Jess Gallagher.
Patmore was an outsider to medal in South Korea, as many did not understand how well skateboarding and snowboarding cross over.
His bronze in London as a sprinter was just three-tenths of a second out of gold.
As for that short list, Eddie Eagan of the USA won boxing gold in 1920 and added gold in the four-man bobsleigh.
Norway’s Jacob Tullin Thams won ski jumping gold in 1924 and a silver in 8-metre yachting in 1936.
East German Christa Luding-Rothenburger won speed skating gold medals in 1984, 1988, a silver in 1988 and bronze in 1992. She won silver in match sprint cycling in 1988.
Canadian Clara Hughes won two bronze cycling medals in 1996 and gold silver and bronze medals in speed skating in 2006, 2002 and 2010.
Lauryn Williams of the USA won silver sprinting medals in a relay in 2012 and a bobsleigh medal at Sochi in 2014.
All were able-bodied athletes.