Anne Brunell OAM

Anne Brunell OAM is a gold medal winning swimmer, and Vice President of the Amputees Association.

Honour Roll

Dressed in her jeans, Anne Brunell looks like every other young mum attending to her two active young sons. She speaks to many school children and gives inspiration, encouraging them to do something with their lives.

"I think you have to grasp life. You need to be out there doing things," Anne said.

Anne's determination and drive came from the challenges early in her life. She was a Ward of the State until she was four years old and is a double above-knee leg amputee - beneath the jeans are two artificial legs. Always adapting to the situation at hand no matter how difficult, Anne devoted her energies and reached the pinnacle of success in the swimming pool.

A defining moment came when Anne was the youngest competitor at the 1984 International Disabled Games in New York, and won a bronze medal.

"I saw people with disabilities worse than mine. I hadn't had much exposure to other disabled people, only amputees, and there I saw people competing that were blind or in a wheelchair," she said. "I was only 13 and decided then I needed to be more serious. My mindset changed and I wanted a gold medal in world record time. I had a new attitude and a new maturity towards my swimming."

Anne's achievements include four world records, a silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Paralympic Games and three gold and one bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Paralympic Games, where she was honoured as the Australian female team captain. She was awarded an Order of Australia Medal and supported the Australian Paralympics team as an athlete liaison officer in Sydney 2000.

Anne retired from her swimming career on a high note although her involvement continues as a volunteer and as Vice President of the Amputees Association. When Anne set out she did not realise the opportunities her success would present, or the role model she would become for others.