Louise Sauvage OAM

Louise Sauvage is one of Australia's most successful Paralympians.

Honour Roll

Louise Sauvage was born on 18 September 1973 with a spinal condition known as myelodisplasia. As a child she gave up using crutches and callipers to walk and moved into a wheelchair. She began wheelchair sports at the age of nine and competed successfully until 1987. Then she underwent spinal surgery which forced her to take a two-year hiatus from competition.

When she returned in 1989 she decided to focus on track and road racing. Sponsorship from the Australian Institute of Sport enabled her to compete internationally. Her other major sponsor is Invacare >who make her wheelchairs. Louise entered her first major road race in 1992 before setting off for the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics. She won three gold medals and one silver medal there. That year she was given the Order of Australia medal.

At the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games she won five gold medals, including one for the demonstration 800 metre event at the main Olympics. She competed in the 42 kilometre Boston Marathon in 1997 and won. She repeated that achievement in 1998 and 1999. She holds numerous individual world records. Louise has been named Australian Paralympian of the Year in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998. In 1999, she won the World Disabled Sportsperson of the Year award at an inaugural international sports gala in Monaco.

Louise moved from Perth to Sydney to prepare for the 2000 Paralympic Games. At the Sydney 2000 Olympics she competed in an 800 metre exhibition event taking out another gold medal in front of her home crowd.