Quick Facts

Physical Impairment – Quadriplegia
Private: Sailing
How acquired
Sailing accident
Date of Birth
June 15, 1976
Mona Vale, NSW
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016


John Bertrand and Hugh Treharne

Career Highlights

Winning gold at London 2012

Greatest Moment

Winning gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games


As a Sydney northern beaches resident with a Queensland heritage, it’s unsurprising that sailing is three-time Paralympian Daniel Fitzgibbon’s sport of choice.

Having raced boats his entire life, Daniel made his international debut in 2000, three years after becoming a quadriplegic in a sailing accident, and in 2004 he won gold at the IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships in Melbourne in the single-person dinghy event.

As the 2004 Queensland Sailor of the Year moved closer to realising his dream of winning a Paralympic medal, he partnered with Rachael Cox in the 2-person keelboat.

On their silver medal win at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, Daniel said:

“Being on the podium was awesome, seeing the Australian flag was great, but hearing the American anthem was terrible. It was an empty feeling and just wasn’t our moment, and that spurred me on to make it our moment.”

Impressed with Paralympic wheelchair basketballer Liesl Tesch’s form in the 2009 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, Daniel contacted her about a potential move to sailing and they began training together in early 2011.

Steeling themselves for a dogfight at the London 2012 Games, Daniel and Liesl stunned their competition with a gold medal-winning performance of 14.0, claiming Australia’s first ever in that event at a Paralympic Games and securing them the APC’s Paralympic Team of the Year award with wheelchair rugby team the Steelers.

Following London, they won gold at the 2014 and 2015 IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships and bronze in 2016, and at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games they placed first in eight and second in three of their 11 races to become the first team in history to win back-to-back gold in the 2-person keelboat

Daniel has a bachelor of science in construction management from the Queensland University of Technology and is currently studying a bachelor of business in property economics.

A member of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, he has developed their highly successful Integrated Disabled Sailing program, for which he now a proud ambassador.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Private: Sailing Disciplines: 2-person keelboat (SKUD18) Classification: TPA