Todd Hodgetts is the strong man of the Australian Paralympic athletics squad. Having first thrown a shot put as a child in his backyard, the Tasmanian realised his lifelong dream when he won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Having competed in field events since 1998 after his brother brought home a shot put from school, Todd’s dreams of one day competing at a Paralympic Games were put on hold when athletes with an intellectual disability were banned after cheating was exposed at the Sydney 2000 Games. Re-included for London across three sports, Todd’s Paralympic dreams were alive once again and in 2011 he moved from his home in Launceston to Canberra to commit to full-time training.
The move paid off with Todd setting a new F20 shot put world record of 16.09m at the 2012 Australian Championships. Ranked number one in the world, Todd knew he had to break his own world record to secure the Paralympic gold.
With a roar heard around the stadium, Todd threw a massive 16.29m and celebrated with a victory lap around the stadium, hugging everyone he found with an Australian flag.
Nicknamed “The Hulk” by his family and friends for flexing his muscles and yelling at the sky after winning his Paralympic gold, Todd followed up a successful London 2012 campaign with strong results at the IPC Athletics World Championships in 2013. While he went into the competition with an elbow injury, his excellent form and training regime won him a bronze medal.
Although Todd was only 12-years-old when the 2000 Paralympic Games took place in Sydney, his memory of the Games is clear and has provided him with constant motivation to train in athletics since then.
When Todd realised the pathway to the Paralympics was closed off, he began a lucrative weightlifting career. Todd was the Tasmanian record holder in weightlifting in the Super Heavyweight division and also set an Australian Junior dead lift record of 267.5kg. Back in his weightlifting days, he looked to Australian Olympic gold medallist Dean Lukins for inspiration, and holds him in high regards to this day.
Having given up weightlifting to focus on his athletics career, Todd now spends most of his free time with friends and completing his certificate IV in fitness.
The Paralympic journey is not over for Todd, who has vowed to keep going and defend his title in Rio 2016. “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.”