INSPIRATIONAL WEDNESDAY: Trischa Zorn, the most decorated paralympic athlete

Trischa Zorn is the most successful Paralympian of all-time, having won 55 medals including 41 golds.

During a glittering career covering seven Paralympic Games, S12 swimmer Zorn won a staggering 55 medals and witnessed first-hand the evolution of the Paralympic Games.

“The Paralympics have changed so much from the quality of athletes to opportunities for training. Athletes are more specialised and emphasise on particular events. Therefore, instead of training for all events like I did, athletes train for only a few events,” said Zorn who admits she would “probably not” have won so many medals if she was competing today.

Zorn realises that with the Paralympic Games becoming ever more competitive it is unlikely that any summer or winter athlete will ever overtake her haul of 55 medals, which includes 41 golds, nine silver and five bronze.

“As others have told me, it is a feat that probably will never be surpassed. I am ok with that. However, records are meant to be broken and I would be excited to meet the individual who would be able to meet that mark,” Zorn said.

She made her Paralympic debut at Arnhem 1980 and claimed a clean sweep. She later added gold medals to her tally at New York 1984 and Seoul 1988. She made it to the podium 14 more times between Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, before retiring.

“I was fortunate and blessed to be able to compete at the highest level of competition for seven Paralympic Games and over 34 years” said Zorn who has a big award case at her California home just to be able to store all the medals.

Although she won 41 Paralympic titles, Zorn classes a bronze medal win at Athens 2004 as her most memorable podium finish. That is because her mother passed away from cancer during the preparation for the Games. Even with the interruption from training and the emotional stress, she still managed to win a medal at my last Games. She views it as a tribute to her mom, who was always her great supporter.

In recognition of Zorn’s achievements in 2012 she was inducted into the Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame.


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