Quick Facts

Physical Impairment – Joint fusion – right knee and ankle
How acquired
Ride-on lawnmower accident
Date of Birth
June 25, 1981
Bruce, ACT
Personal banker
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

Beijing 2008, London 2012

Career Highlights

Winning silver in Beijing, winning Australia’s first ever Paralympic rowing medal

Greatest Moment

Winning silver in Beijing, only missing gold by 0.08 of a second


Beijing silver medallist Kathryn Ross had only one goal for London – to win the gold medal that she so narrowly missed in Beijing. But unfortunately it was not to be for the Victorian, who with sculls partner Gavin Bellis, finished fifth in what they both described as a devastating result after having given their all during the race.

Having dedicated herself to early mornings and daily training for four years in the lead up to London, Kathryn rowed with a number of partners before she found the right fit in Gavin. Following John Maclean’s retirement post-Beijing, Kathryn won bronze with partner Grant Bailey at the 2010 World Championships in New Zealand. But with John’s return to the water in 2011, the pair reunited in impressive style, winning two gold medals at the 2011 International Adaptive Regatta in Italy. The pair went on to snare a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships in Slovenia.

Since London, Kathryn and Gavin have been training hard with coach Gordon Marcks. Having quickly overcome their initial shock of finishing fifth, they re-set their goal to achieve a podium finish at Rio 2016. In a comeback like no other, the dynamic duo’s hard work began to pay off when they won gold at the 2013 World Championships in South Korea and went on to win back-to-back world titles, when they finished in first place again at the 2014 World Championships in Amsterdam. In 2015, they completed a hat-trick, winning their third consecutive world title, securing their status as gold medal contenders at Rio 2016.

When Kathryn was two years old, an accident with a ride-on lawn mower at home left her with a deformity in her right leg. Although both her right knee and ankle joints were fused together at such a young age, the accident did little to quell the sports mad girl and she progressed to the top of Paralympic rowing with the help of her family and support team. She believes a large part of her success is owed to the many inspirational people she has behind her including her family, friends and staff at the Canberra training base.

Kathryn has a wide range of different talents and interests. She is a talented musician and can play the tenor drum and piano. The former clothes designer also enjoys painting, quilting, sewing, watching movies and catching up with friends.

An advocate for people with disabilities participating in sport, Kathryn plans to one day be involved in talent identification in Para-sport and her long term goal is to set up a strength and conditioning venue for people undergoing rehabilitation and children with cerebral palsy. In 10 years time, she also hopes to be a Paralympic gold medallist, have a family of her own and be working her way up the career ladder as a banker.

Based at the AIS, Kathryn sees representing Australia as a great honour and she continues to train hard there to help ensure she secures that elusive Paralympic gold at Rio 2016.

Sports & Disciplines

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