Quick Facts

Physical Impairment – Spinal cord damage
How acquired
Playing hockey
Date of Birth
May 30, 1967
Canberra, ACT
Environmental scientist
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

London 2012, Rio 2016

Career Highlights

Winning Australia’s first Paralympic gold at the 2012 Games in London

Greatest Moment

Cathy Freeman winning gold at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney


Cyclist Sue Powell made headlines when she won Australia’s first gold medal of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, claiming victory in the individual pursuit ahead of teammate and bronze medallist Alex Lisney.

She describes the win as the highlight of her career and one of the greatest moments of her life to date, followed closely by her silver medal win in the road time trial just days later.

Sue did not begin cycling professionally until suffering a seemingly innocuous spinal injury while playing hockey at 40. Injuring her sciatica, the accident caused nerve damage, resulting in weakened strength and movement in her right leg.

Having completed a novice racing program with her local cycling club and Paralympic champion Michael Milton years earlier, Sue decided to begin cycling again as a form of rehabilitation.

Impressed by her speed, Para-cycling coach Sian Mulholland encouraged her to pursue the sport at an elite level. Sue initially dismissed the idea, thinking that at 40 she was too old to compete, but Sian persisted and she was classified just a few months later.

Success came quickly for the Canberra local, who has medalled at every UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships since 2009 and every Track World Championships since 2011.

She also represented Australia at Rio 2016, where she competed in four events and medalled in two, winning silver in the individual pursuit and bronze in the road time trial. Her silver medal was Australia’s first of the Games.

Outside of cycling, Sue loves to spend time outdoors, so much so that in 2011 she completed a PhD in environmental science. After being awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2014 for service to sport at the London Games, she was very proud to become Dr. Susan Powell OAM.

Sue credits her mum, whose wedding ring she wears during competition, for this love of the outdoors and also her determination to do everything to the best of her ability.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Cycling Disciplines: Time trial Classification: C4
  • Sport: Cycling Disciplines: Individual pursuit Classification: C4
  • Sport: Cycling Disciplines: Team sprint (mixed) Classification: C4
  • Sport: Cycling Disciplines: Road race Classification: C4
  • Sport: Cycling Disciplines: Road time trial Classification: C4