Quick Facts

How acquired
Vision impairment – Stargardts macular dystrophy
Date of Birth
March 14, 1986
Melbourne, VIC
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

Vancouver 2010 (Para-alpine skiing), London 2012 (Para-athletics), Sochi 2014 (Para-alpine skiing)

Career Highlights

Becoming the first Australian Para-athlete to medal at an international meet in both winter and summer events

Greatest Moment

Winning Australia’s first female Paralympic winter medal on her 24th birthday


In 2010, Jessica Gallagher created history at the Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, becoming the first Australian woman to ever win a Winter Paralympic Games medal.

With guide Eric Bickerton, Jessica claimed bronze in the women’s vision impaired slalom, capping an amazing rise in the sport after joining the APC’s alpine skiing program in 2009. And to make her momentous Paralympic medal even more special, she won it on her 24th birthday.

In 2014, Jessica did it again – winning bronze at the Sochi Paralympics but this time in the giant slalom and with new guide, Christian Geiger. Her rapid rise as a Paralympic skier came after her track and field career was placed on hold following the 2008 Beijing Games. Having earned selection to the Australian Team in the 100m, long jump, discus and shot put, Jessica was ruled out the day before the Opening Ceremony after Paralympic classifiers declared her right eye was 0.1 of a degree too sighted to legally compete.

With a rare disease known as cone dystrophy which continues to deteriorate her sight, Jessica became eligible for both the Summer and Winter Paralympics and following Vancouver, she returned to athletics where she debuted at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, just 10 months after the Vancouver Games. Jessica won a silver medal in the long jump and a bronze medal in the javelin.

Hoping to become the first Australian Paralympian to win a medal at both the Summer and Winter Paralympics, Jessica competed in the long jump and javelin at the London 2012 Paralympics however she tore the meniscus just six weeks before the Games Despite being severely hampered by her injury in both training and competition, Jessica participated in both long jump and javelin, finishing fifth and sixth respectively.

Jessica is still in pursuit of her goal of becoming Australia’s first athlete to medal at a summer and winter Paralympics. With long jump being removed from the Rio Paralympic program, Jessica transitioned into track cycling.

In August 2014 she was asked if she would like to try riding a tandem bicycle and her first experience was with Olympian Shane Kelly as pilot! She instantly fell in love with the adrenalin buzz of the track. In their first national championships as a pair, Jessica and her pilot Jessica Allen, a former junior time trial world champion, earned bronze in the tandem pursuit.

At the National Championships at the end of 2015, Jessica and her pilot Maddie Janssen won the women’s 1km tandem in a time of 1min 09.597 qualifying them for the 2016 World Championships.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Cycling Disciplines: Individual pursuit Classification: B3
  • Sport: Cycling Disciplines: 1km time trial Classification: B3