Quick Facts

Physical Impairment – Paraplegia
How acquired
Motor vehicle accident
Date of Birth
October 17, 1979
Penrith, NSW
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

London 2012

Career Highlights

Winning silver at London 2012, selection for the Australian team in his first year of competition and making the A final at the 2011 World Cup

Greatest Moment

Stuart O’Grady break ground for Australian cycling


Erik Horrie had one of the most harrowing, inspiring and eventful Games campaigns at his first Paralympic Games in London. With his partner due to have a baby any day and a Paralympic medal on his mind, he suffered a seizure the day after his first heat which saw him admitted to hospital.

Having made a promise to himself years earlier that he would race and win a medal at London 2012, Erik was determined to make the final, where he remarkably won silver and then learnt the news he had a new baby boy.

Erik’s road to Paralympic silver has taken many twists and turns. When he was 21, he was involved in a car accident that left him with complete paraplegia. With the unerring support of his partner Michelle, he began to play wheelchair basketball, catching the eye of national selectors while playing in the NWBL with the Brisbane Spinning Bullets. In 2009 he made his debut for Australia as part of the men’s wheelchair basketball team, the Rollers, which won gold in a World Cup qualifier and gold at the IWBF Oceania Championships.

He then made the transition to rowing in 2011 where he won a bronze medal in the men’s single skulls at the FISA World Rowing Championships in Slovenia. It capped a very encouraging first 12 months of competition including a fourth place finish at a 2011 World Cup meet in Munich behind the Australian winner Ben Houlison.

Since his transition to rowing, Erik has gone on to experience so many highs in sport. With the success of London 2012 still in his mind, he won gold at the 2013 World Championships and broke a world record by an enormous 10.5 seconds, and in 2014 was voted International World Rower of the Year by the international governing body, FISA.

While rowing remains his priority as he trains for Rio, Erik has also tried his hand at Para-triathlon. In 2013, he competed at the first ever Para-triathlon in Australia. He also enjoys hand-cycling, watching motor sports in his spare time and is now dabbling in wheelchair racing.

To keep himself motivated while training, Erik draws inspiration from boxing legend Muhammad Ali and Australian cyclist Stuart O’Grady. He admires the way both athletes have broken new ground and found new ways to lead the way in their chosen sports.

Erik is currently completing his Certificate IV in Youth Work through a partnership with the New South Wales Institute of Sport, and in 10 years time when he is a world and Paralympic gold medallist, he hopes to be working with youths as a counsellor and also to be giving back to rowing, by developing new Australian talent and helping to create a legacy for emerging athletes to aspire to.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Rowing Disciplines: Single skulls Classification: A5