Curt McGrath was serving as an Australian Army combat engineer in Afghanistan in 2012 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device and lost his right leg above the knee and left leg below the knee. He was fighting shock, blood loss and excruciating pain, but Curt made a vow then that when he recovered, he would represent his country at the Paralympic Games.

Mere months after starting in Para-canoe, Curt put the world on notice with a gold medal on debut at the 2014 International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Sprint World Championships in Moscow, Russia, and on high alert when he defended it the following year in Milan, Italy.

At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Curt went head-to-head with six-time world champion Markus Swoboda (AUT). Although Markus took an early lead, Curt dug deep, closed the gap, then pulled ahead, earning Australia’s first gold medal in Para-canoe at the …

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Date of birth
31 March 1988
Past Paralympic Games

Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020

Physical Impairment – Right above-knee and left below-knee limb loss
How acquired
Improvised explosive device explosion
Burleigh Waters, QLD
Athlete, speaker
Started competing
First competed for Australia
Sport career highlights

Carrying the Australian flag at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony

Greatest sporting moments

The All Blacks winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup

Heroes/role models

Richie McCaw

Favourite quote
Be humble - you could be wrong


  • Sport: Para-canoe Discipline: Kayak Classification: KL2
  • Sport: Para-canoe Discipline: Va’a Classification: VL3

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