No Australian has competed at more Paralympic Games than Elizabeth ‘Libby’ Kosmala. And few have won more medals.
Kosmala’s service to sport began in the early 1960s when she became involved in wheelchair sports as an administrator. By 1966, she was competing and participated at the National Wheelchair Games in multiple events, including foil fencing, archery and swimming.
After working as a secretary at the 1968 Tel Aviv Paralympics, Kosmala competed in swimming in the 1972 Heidelberg Games before transferring to shooting. Across the next four decades, until Rio 2016, Kosmala was a permanent fixture in Australian Paralympic Teams, accumulating a remarkable nine gold and three silver medals, adding to her bronze in the pool at her first Games. She was the Australian flag bearer for the opening ceremony at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Away from sport, Kosmala has advocated for equality for people with a disability, including playing a part in the introduction of disabled parking permits in South Australia in the 1970s.
Kosmala and her husband Stan, himself a fine sportsperson and Paralympic gold medallist, have two children and two grandchildren. Kosmala’s service to sport continues as a coach and mentor to young shooters.
12 Paralympic Games – (Heidelberg 1972, Toronto 1976, Arnhem 1980, Stoke Mandeville 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016)
- 1972 – 1 bronze (swimming)
- 1976 – 1 gold
- 1980 – 1 gold, 2 silver
- 1984 – 4 gold
- 1988 – 3 gold, 1 silver
Recognition of Kosmala’s achievements includes:
- 1985: Awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her services to the sport of air rifle shooting
- 2012: Awarded APC President’s Medal for Excellence in Sportsmanship
- 2019: Inducted into the South Australian Hall of Fame
- 2021: Inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame