Todd Hodgetts, the strong man of the Australian Paralympic athletics squad, had to wait 12 long years for the Paralympic Games to be reopened to athletes with an intellectual disability.
He first began competing in field events in 1998 when his brother brought home a shot put from school, and after watching the Games in Sydney two years later, he was motivated to represent Australia at the highest level.
After Todd learned that his pathway to the Paralympic Games had closed, he turned his attention to weightlifting. Inspired by Australian Olympic gold medallist Dean Lukin, Todd set new Australian junior dead lift and Tasmanian super heavyweight records.
When athletes with an intellectual disability were reincluded in three sports for the London Games, Todd retired from weightlifting and relocated to Canberra to commit to full-time training in shot put.
Todd confirmed that the move was worthwhile when he set new world records and won gold at the 2012 Australian Championships and the Paralympic Games later that year. He was nicknamed ‘The Hulk’ by family and friends for flexing his muscles and yelling following his win.
Despite an elbow injury, Todd managed to nab bronze at the 2013 IPC World Championships in Lyon, a result he matched at Rio 2016. The Launceston local had hoped to defend his Paralympic title, saying, “I’m going to defend my title because I’m a champion. To be a legend you have to defend it twice and I’ll do anything to keep going.” Unfortunately, with a distance of 15.82m, he was just over a metre short.
In what spare time he has, Todd spends it completing a Certificate IV in Fitness and relaxing with friends.