Quick Facts

Physical Impairment – Nerve damage to legs, hearing impairment
How acquired
Neuropathy from meningitis
Date of Birth
July 12, 1987
Repton, NSW
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016


Roger Federer, Muhammad Ali

Career Highlights

Winning a silver medal in the 100m backstroke in Beijing 2008

Greatest Moment

Competing in Beijing and the atmosphere of it all


From small beginnings big things grow, and Michael Anderson is now a Paralympic medallist. A country boy at heart, Michael grew up in the northern New South Wales town of Bellingen. He had meningitis when he was 20 months old, resulting in severe hearing loss in both ears and nerve damage to the lower limbs.

He grew up living an easy-going life and whenever the opportunity arose, he could be found at the beach relaxing with his friends. But never did he think his affinity with the water would result in Paralympic success.

Michael made his Australian team debut in 2005 competing at the Deaflympics in Melbourne, placing sixth in the 50m backstroke.

Michael won a silver medal at the 2006 IPC Swimming World Championships in the 100m backstroke. At his first Paralympic Games in Beijing, he again won a silver medal in the 100m backstroke, a performance of which he is very proud. “It was just short of what I was aiming for – gold. But silver is the next best thing and I’m very happy with my performance,” he said.

After Beijing, Michael maintained an impressive level of performance, turning in a fantastic meet at the 2009 Australian Short Course Championships. He became the first Paralympic swimmer in his classification to go under the one-minute mark in the 100m backstroke and also recorded personal bests in the 50m and 100m freestyle.

Outside of swimming, Michael is a daredevil with a passion for adventure that motivates him to explore exotic countries. He has been swimming with great white sharks, backpacked around Asia and learnt to surf.

He moved to the Gold Coast, to undertake a Bachelor of Business in Sports Management at Griffith University and train under Jan Cameron in the high performance para-swimming program on the Sunshine Coast.

In 2012, Michael won gold in the 100m backstroke at the Winter Can AM event in the USA and went into the London 2012 Games in strong form. He won gold as part of the 4x100m freestyle relay, bronze in the 4x100m medley relay and also finished fifth in the 100m backstroke and eighth in the 100m freestyle.

Michael was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in the 2014 Australia Day Honours for service to sport as a gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Michael competed in three events, finishing sixth in the final of the 100m backstroke, but did not progress to the finals of the 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle events.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 50m Freestyle Classification: S10
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 100m Freestyle Classification: S10
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 100m backstroke Classification: S10
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 4x100m medley relay Classification: S10