Quick Facts

Disability
Physical Impairment – Spinocerebellar ataxia
Sport
Rowing
How acquired
Hereditary
Date of Birth
November 11, 1973
Home
Bruce, ACT
Occupation
Athlete
Started Competing
2011
First Competed for Australia
2012
Games Experience

London 2012, Rio 2016

Heroes

His brother

Career Highlights

Winning back-to-back world titles in 2013 and 2014

Greatest Moment

Australia winning the America’s Cup in 1983

Bio

Gavin Bellis was a diesel mechanic with the Australian Army when he was diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia in 2004. Affecting his coordination and balance, he was medically discharged the following year.

With experience playing and coaching rugby union, Gavin contacted the APC to learn about his options in Para-sport. Encouraged to try rowing, his raw talent and competitive spirit made for a promising start to his sporting career.

At the 2012 Gavirate International Regatta in Italy, Gavin won silver in the mixed double sculls with Paralympic silver medallist Kathryn Ross, and bronze in the single boat.

Motivated by Kathryn’s silver medal success in Beijing, Gavin was confident gold was within reach at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. In what he describes as a devastating blow, the pair finished third in their heat, second in their repechage heat and fifth in the final, racing nearly nine seconds slower than first-placed Chinese pair Tianming Fei and Xiaoxian Lou.

Nonetheless, Gavin and Kathryn made an impressive return to the world stage when they won gold at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 FISA World Rowing Championships.

With a podium finish in sight for Rio 2016, and a gold medal not unlikely, they were disappointed to place fourth in their heat, third in their repechage heat and seventh overall in the final.

Outside of training and competition, Gavin enjoys sailing, watching rugby union and being a dad to his two kids.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Rowing Disciplines: Mixed double sculls Classification: PR2