Quick Facts

How acquired
Physical Impairment – Right arm limb loss
Date of Birth
February 20, 1961
Victoria Park, WA
Medical imaging technologist
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012


Daly Thompson - the first black English decathlete

Career Highlights

Winning bronze at Beijing 2008

Greatest Moment

Australia winning the Americas Cup in 1983


Three-time Paralympian Colin Harrison is one of Australia’s leading sailors with a disability.

Growing up in the United Kingdom, Colin was introduced to sailing as a teenager while at a youth holiday camp in Northern Wales. From the moment he was introduced to the sport by sailing teacher Tony Welsh, he was able to channel his energies and soon became immersed in the sport, joining the Thames Estuary Yacht Club where he raced small boats.

Several years later, Colin returned to Australia and discovered he had cancer in his shoulder. Following several operations and a course of radiotherapy, Colin’s right arm was amputated. His life dramatically changed and he momentarily gave up sailing, before changing his mind to take it up once more on a 10m yacht.

He made his debut for Australia at the 2002 IFDS World Championships in the Netherlands. The crew placed fifth.

He went on to compete at the Athens 2004 Paralympics where he was a member of the crew that finished fifth, before finishing seventh at the 2006 Perth IFDS World Championships. Colin also travelled to Rochester, New York in September 2007, skippering a new crew that finished eighth in the IFDS World Sailing Championships.

Alongside Stephen Churm and Jonathon Harris in the three person sonar class, he recorded encouraging results in the prelude to the London Games, including a fourth place finish at the 2012 IFDS World Championships in Florida.

In London, competing at his third Paralympics, Colin and his crewmates were sixth.

At the 2013 and 2014 IFDS World Championships the Australian Sonar team, now made up of Colin, Jonathon Harris and Russell Boaden, took bronze and went one better the following year at the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships, winning silver.

Their journey towards Rio 2016 has been successful with two World Cup gold medals in 2015 and a silver at the start of 2016.

As well as his sailing achievements, Colin has a career in medical imaging and enjoys playing squash. It would not surprise to find Colin relaxing listening to music or watching movies.

However, sailing remains his sanctuary and would love to win a Paralympic gold medal. He enjoys the thrill of competing against the world’s best sailors and the opportunities his passion provides to travel and experience different venues.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Sailing Disciplines: 2-Person Keelboat (SKUD18) Classification: 3