Quick Facts

Vision Impairment – Rod monochromatism
How acquired
Date of Birth
November 6, 1986
Redfern, NSW, ACT
Operations Business Analyst at Allianz
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

London 2012

Career Highlights

Representing Australia at the London 2010 Paralympic Games

Greatest Moment

Playing goalball at London 2012 with a hardworking team


Michelle Rzepecki has been training with the Australian goalball squad since 2011 and represented Australia at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Having played goalball for much of the past decade, she has now become a permanent fixture on the Australian women’s team.

Born with rod monochromatism meaning she can only see in black and white, Michelle was introduced to goalball at a camp for visually impaired youths while in 2002.

It was while representing her home state NSW at the Australian National Goalball Championships over the course of eight years that Michelle attracted the attention of former Australian head coach Georgie Kernaghan.

In 2011, under the watchful eye of Georgie, Michelle began to train with the Australian women’s development squad with the idea that she might be able to qualify for, and win a medal at Rio 2016.

To her surprise, that very same year, she made her international debut for Australia at the African Oceania regional Paralympic qualifying competition where the team defeated New Zealand, to earn automatic selection for London and became the first Australian goalball team to qualify for a Paralympic Games since Sydney 2000.

While Michelle thrives on competition, what she loves most about goalball is that it unites visually impaired people and creates a community for them. She has previously worked a school for children with visual impairments in Bolivia, where she introduced her students to the sport. She believes this is one of her greatest achievements to date.

As far as competition routines go, Michelle has a unique superstition. On each day she competes, she must eat Swedish meatballs for breakfast.

Michelle believes her grandfather has been the most influential person in her life and looks up to him, for his courage in migrating from Germany to Australia and establishing a successful cafe business soon after.

She has since returned to her ancestral homeland in Germany on student exchange and cites a lost in translation moment as her most embarrassing – she told a class in German she wanted to be a terrorist, when she thought she was saying she wanted to work in tourism.

Michelle loves being outdoors and enjoys hiking and camping. She is also quite musical and can play the piano and saxophone. In ten years time she sees herself having played at a few more Paralympic Games, but working in Antarctica with penguins.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Goalball Classification: B3