Kurt Fearnley was born without the lower portion of his spine but never allowed this to hold him back. Kurt went on to become one of Australia's most successful and respected athletes and advocates. His achievements as a Paralympic athlete, service to people with a disability, and fundraising efforts when it comes to Indigenous athletics and charitable organisations earned him an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2018. In the same year, he was named as NSW Australian of the Year and awarded an Honourary Doctorate from Griffith University.
Kurt is a passionate disability advocate and devotes himself to a number of national and Hunter-based charitable initiatives. He is a board member of the Australian Paralympic Committee, Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation and member of the International Paralympic Committee's Athlete Advisory Council.
Wheelchair Racing: Kurt Fearnley is a three-time Paralympic gold medallist (Athens, 2004 and Beijing, 2008) and two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallists (Delhi, 2010 and Gold Coast, 2018). He has won over 30 marathons, including 10 marathons in 2007 and three straight New York marathon titles, in a career spanning more than 20 years. In total Kurt has Thirteen Paralympic medals spanning across 5 games. He's also a 6 times world champion from 800m to the marathon. Kurt was able to finish a 20-year representative career with a dominant Gold Medal performance at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, whilst also receiving the honour of carrying the Australian Flag into the Closing Ceremony.
Sailing: In 2012 Kurt was an active member of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race-winning crew aboard Investec Loyal.
Fundraising: In 2009 Kurt spent two weeks in Papua New Guinea crawling the 96-kilometre Kokoda Track raising awareness and funding for men's health charity Movember and beyond blue.
Author: Kurt published his auto-biography, Pushing the Limits - life, marathons & Kokoda in 2016.
Board Appointments: Kurt is a former board member of Australian Volunteers International and NSW Australia Day Council and was a founding member of the National Disability Insurance Scheme's Advisory Council.
Awards: In 2009 Kurt was named NSW Young Australian of the Year and in 2018 became the first athlete with a disability to win the coveted ‘The Don’ Award as the Australian sportsperson most likely to inspire the nation.
Kurt is warm, engaging , funny and inspirational. Without a doubt, he is one of Australia's most focussed and exceptional athletes - his list of achievements speaks for itself. Despite this, ... keep reading he is supremely modest and unassuming. From the moment he "rolled" up onto the stage we were captivated, inspired and amused. Kurt left us all in a better place and motivated to achieve. We could not have found a better speaker for our conference. Avenue Capital Management
He was simply inspirational. He is also a very personal young man who spent some time talking with the Red Bend Catholic College students who were present and shared his experiences with them by letting them handle three of his medals - his Silver Medal from the Sydney Olympics, his Gold Medal from the Athens Olympics and his solid Gold Medal for winning the New York Marathon last year.
Kurt engaged the audience and had them on the edges of their seats with his stories of old and new.
Thank you for your truly inspiring presentation at our annual STAR Awards conference. You captured both the hearts and minds of everyone in the room. To echo the comments of our CEO, having the opportunity to meet you personally and hear first hand your story of courage, charity and glory is an experience we will never forget. You are a true Australian legend and an inspiration not only to those in our community but indeed the global communities you have worked in. Thank you for sharing your story with us and for the enormous contribution you are continuing to make to our society. Your son could not possibly have a better role model.